Feds Helping Women get Connected?

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Have you considered applying for Federal Internet funding?

The Women's Internet Campaign is investigating whether or not women's groups and organizations are being given resources from any of the federal government's programs to connect non-profit groups to the Internet. If your group has applied, or has considered applying for funding from a government program to get on-line, and/or offer Internet access to women please let the campaign know. You will be asked three questions.

Contact Women'space:
PO Box 1034
Almonte Ontario K0A 1P0
Tel: (613) 256-5682 Fax: (613) 256-5202
E-mail: diamond@womenspace.ca

International Women's Health Forum

The ninth International Women's Health Forum (IWHF), held in Toronto this year, brings together women from all over the world to talk about globalization, poverty, violence and militarism, diversity, and much more, all in the context of women's health.

The IWHF, the first of which was held in 1975, is "a forum for deepening analyses and defining political strategies to address the specific realities of women's health."

For more information, contact:

Secretariat, 9th IWHM
Suite 706, 366 Adelaide St. W.
Toronto ON M5V 1R9
Tel: (416) 971-6333
Fax: (416) 971-5899

Singing in the Bones

A controversial play about birth, midwifery and modern medicine, based in British Columbia just prior to the regulation and legalization of midwifery, is coming to Toronto next year. Described as a "complex spiritual and psychological odyssey, layered with dreams," Singing in the Bones, by Caitlin Hicks, centres around three women - a midwife, an obstetrician and a woman who wants to give birth to twins without intervention.

Scheduled for April 17th to 30th 2000, more information is available from:
The Company of Sirens
Tel: (416) 537-9392
Fax: (416) 537-9633
E-mail: cgrant@oise.utoronto.ca

UN Supports Exclusive Breastfeeding by HIV-positive Mothers

United Nations agencies now support "exclusive breastfeeding" by HIV-positive mothers, a change from their previous position, entirely against breastfeeding by HIV-positive mothers.

UNAIDS, the World Health Organization (WHO), and UNICEF, have based this change in policy on a recent study conducted in South Africa.

The Durban study, reported in the Lancet (August 7, 1999) found that "exclusive breast feeding," which means the baby is fed nothing but mother's milk during the early months, reduces the risk of HIV transmission from the mother to the baby. The authors of the study claim the widely held view that HIV transmission takes place through breast milk is based on "faulty analysis."

Previous studies did not take into account the effects of different types of breast feeding practices. Babies who received "mixed breastfeeding" with or without water, other fluids and foods that might contaminate and injure the immature gastrointestinal tract, are likely to suffer a higher incidence of HIV transmission compared to babies who were exclusively breastfed for the first three months.

Source: The Times of India News Service

Plan B Goes Ahead

A new version of the 'morning-after' pill can now be bought in Canada.

Plan B, an emergency contraceptive that can be used after unprotected sex, contains only a synthetic version of progestrerone, a hormone that has been used in birth control pills for many years.

Journal studies suggest that the Plan B pill may have significantly fewer side effects than other morning-after pills previously available in Canada.

Plan B can only be purchased with a doctor's prescription.

Sweatshop Barbie

If you thought there was enough to say about Barbie, think again.

The Maquila Solidarity Network is asking people to write to Mattel, the producers of Barbie dolls, to tell them to enforce their own code of conduct for labour so that Barbies are not made in sweatshops.

Citing wages as low as $3 (US) a day, strict factory rules and arbitrary fines, work up to 11 hours per day and six days per week, with high quotas and no over-time pay, as well as hot, stifling factories, the network says that though Mattel has a code of conduct, it only "gives the workers rights on paper, not on the shop floor."

For more information on the campaign, contact:

The Maquila Solidarity Network
606 Shaw Street
Toronto ON M6G 3L6
Tel: (416) 532-8584
Fax: (416) 532-7688
E-mail: perg@web.net

Sex Trade Study

Prostitutes Empowerment, Education and Resource Society (PEERS) has undertaken a new research project to make a record of the health effects of sex work.

The PEERS study will look at trends in the early lives and health practices of sex workers, and recommend policies to improve their health.

Focussing on sex workers using off-street venues such as private homes, escort agencies, phone, massage parlours, hotels, and Internet, PEERS hope to enable sex workers to promote better health in their community.

Established in 19996, PEERS, a group of current and former sex trade workers, aims to provide skill-based training, advocacy, and lay counselling for sex workers who wish to exit the trade. PEERS also does street outreach and advocacy with sex workers whose safety and health are jeopardized from working conditions on the job.

Three former sex trade workers have been hired to compile a list of 100 potential interviewees for the study, lead by Cecilia Benoit, PhD, Sociology, at the University of Victoria, and funded by the B.C. Health Research Foundation.

For more information, contact:
Tel: (250) 388-6506
E-mail: health@pacificcoast.net
PEERS Health Research Project
320-620 View St.
Victoria, B.C., V8W 1J6

World March shirts available

T-shirts featuring a large World March of Women in the Year 2000 logo in five colours with text in English, French and Spanish are now available.

The shirts, in natural cotton colour made of 100% cotton, can be ordered from the Toronto Organizing Committee for the World March of Women in the Year 2000 in S, M, L, XL, XXL and XXXL.

Cost: $20 plus postage ($3 for one shirt, plus $1 for each additional shirt. Contact the office to ask about shipping costs for more than five shirts.)

To order, send a cheque or money order for the cost of shirts plus postage, to:

World March of Women
Toronto Organizing Committee
P.O. Box 243 Station P
Toronto M5S 2S7
Tel: (416) 535-6586
Email: tormarch@yahoo.com

NAC Shut Out of Same-Sex Benefits Hearings

The National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) is appalled at the fact that the largest women's organization in Canada will not be granted permission to appear before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to present its Brief on Bill C-23, The Modernization of Benefits and Obligations Act.

NAC's membership, 740 equality-seeking organizations, encompassing over 3 million women was left off of the "recommended list" of the Committee, which will review giving equal access to benefits for same-sex couples.

"The absurdity of this matter is beyond comprehension", said Joan Grant-Cummings, President of NAC. "At least 50% of our membership are Lesbians and there are no Lesbian groups appearing before the Committee."

Even more frustrating for NAC is that REAL Women (a neo-conservative, anti-choice group) was invited to the hearings. "Equality-seeking women deserve a chance to express their opinions and concerns on this important question of human rights, and instead, Canadian women will be grossly misrepresented," said Grant-Cummings.

For further information, contact:
The National Action Committee on the Status of Women
203 - 234 Eglington Ave. East
Toronto ON M4P 1K5
Tel: (416) 932-1718
Fax: (416) 932-0646
Toll free: 1-800-665-5124

Book Shows For-Profit Health Costs More Money

Clear Answers: The Economics & Politics of For-Profit Medicine is a new book by Kevin Taft and Gillian Steward that summarizes the huge body of evidence showing that for-profit health care is more expensive and less efficient.

Clear Answers shows that the experts are not divided on the question being asked by the Ralph Klein Government in Alberta: can health care be better provided partly as a private, for-profit product rather than as a not-for-profit public service?

The answer appears straightforward. For example, the New England Journal of Medicine says bluntly that, in decades of research, "No peer-reviewed study has found that for-profit hospitals are less expensive."

No doubt our health-care system needs help, but in Clear Answers, Kevin Taft and Gillian Steward show--based on overwhelming evidence--that turning to for-profit medicine for solutions will only make costs higher and waiting lists longer. Canadians and their governments face a clear choice between private profit and the public interest.

Clear Answers: The Economics and Politics of For-Profit Medicine

Kevin Taft and Gillian Steward

Published by The University of Alberta Press, Duval House Publishing, Parkland Institute

ISBN 1-55220-083-3

128 pages $9.95

Restorative Justice for Women?

Restorative Justice: Is it justice for battered women? a conference held by the Provincial Association of Transition Houses of Saskatchewan (PATHS) will take place in Saskatoon, April 14 & 15, 2000.

The conference will look at whether using Restorative Justice in cases of violence against women in their homes would help eliminate systemic violence against women, or would simply revictimize women and perpetuate violence in another form.

The Justice Departments in some provinces are already moving toward the use of Restorative Justice strategies in cases of domestic violence.

For more information, contact:
PATHS (Provincial Association of Transition Houses of Saskatchewan)
418 - 230 Avenue R South
Saskatoon SK S7M 2Z1
Tel: (306) 978-6654
Fax: (306) 978-6614
E-mail: paths@sk.sympatico.ca