Helping journalists, producers and conference planners find the female guests, speakers and expert sources they need.

Graduate Showcase 2013

The women with informed opinions that we’ve trained, inspired or supported have published hundreds of commentaries in daily newspapers and prominent online sites, generating additional interview requests and exposure as a result. Here are just some of the analyses they’ve contributed as a result:


Help prostitutes by fighting racism

The National Post by Sarah M. Mah 8 January 2013

News reports on the recent Supreme Court decision tossing out laws on prostitution focused on women’s inequality, but missed a fundamental fact: prostitution is also about racism.


Toast to those who showed courage in public life

The Ottawa Citizen by Jodi Bruhn 29 December 2013

Former Senate staffer Chris Montgomery has it. So does Edmonton-St. Albert MP Brent Rathgeber. Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page has it in spades. It’s called courage, and there’s mounting evidence that Canadians crave it in their public officials.


Unique genetic counselling program helps empower people with mental health disorders

The Vancouver Sun by Tiffany Crawford 26 December 2013

Article profiles the research of UBC professor and Informed Opinions graduate Jehannine Austin.


Trinity Western University — Discrimination on campus

The National Post by IO Grad Angela Cameron, Clayton Ruby, Angela Chaisson, Mark L. Berlin, Amy Sakalauskas, Jena McGill, Robert Peterson and Mathieu Bouchard 20 December 2013

What is the appropriate role of a law school in directing its students’ consensual sexual activity? We would argue none. Which is why the decisions by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and the B.C. Minister of Education to approve Trinity Western University’s (TWU) proposed law school are both legally incorrect and unjust.


Law societies must show more courage on Trinity Western application

The Globe and Mail by Elaine Craig 18 December 2013

Moments of success in the pursuit of social justice and a better society are often motivated by the bravery, commitment, and ethical vision of particular individuals or institutions. The advancement of equality requires this kind of leadership.


Are battered women justified in killing in self-defence? You decide

The National Post, The Windsor Star and The Ottawa Citizen by Elizabeth Sheehy 17 December 2013

Are battered women justified in killing their abusers in self-defence — even when those abusers are unconscious? In 1982, after a lengthy murder trial, a Nova Scotia jury of Jane Stafford’s peers effectively said “yes,” and acquitted her of murder. Elizabeth Sheehy’s op ed about the issues addressed in her new book led to more than two dozen local, national and international broadcast interviews, including appearances on CTV’s Canada AM and CBC Radio’s “The Current.”

Watch Elizabeth Sheehy’s appearance on Canada AM.


Please don’t tell my daughter she’s beautiful

The Ottawa Citizen by Claire Bellefeuille 11 December 2013

I’m dreading Christmas, and it’s not because of my inability to stay away from the canapés at holiday functions.


Battered women morally entitled to kill abusers, U of O professor asserts

The Ottawa Citizen by Don Butler 10 December 2013

Article features informed opinions of respected University of Ottawa law professor and IO Grad Elizabeth Sheehy whose new book, Defending Battered Women on Trial, will be published Dec. 15 by UBC Press. Elizabeth Sheehy appeared on CBC Radio’s The Current 18 December 2013. Listen now.


Uncertainty about treatment and rights increases suffering

The Ottawa Citizen by Hilary Young 7 November 2013

The Supreme Court of Canada recently ruled in the case of Hassan Rasouli, a Toronto man who has been on life support since 2010. His doctors consider continued life support to be futile, even harmful to Rasouli. His wife, Parichehr Salasel — herself a physician — refused consent to withdrawing treatment both because of her medical assessment and her husband’s values regarding the sanctity of life.


Let’s bring Ottawa’s political staffers out of the shadows with a code of conduct

The Globe and Mail by Anna Lennox Esselment 28 October 2013

A number of recent government controversies have highlighted the role of the “political staffer,” such as the current Senate scandal, the gas plant cancellations in Ontario, the B.C. Liberals’ “ethnic outreach strategy,” and various interferences in freedom of information requests.


Youth, Digital Infrastructure and the Future Success of Mongolia

The Huffington Post by Giovanna Mingarelli 23 October 2013

It was my last night in the capital city of Ulanbaataar (UB) during my first visit to Mongolia. I had spent an evening at a private reception generously hosted by the President of Mongolia, Elbegdorj Tsakhia, taking part in some of Mongolia’s older traditions — like trying my hand at the Mongolian bow and enjoying a bowl of fermented mare’s milk.


Female senators shake up Washington

The Ottawa Citizen by Nancy Peckford and Raylene Lang-Dion 23 October 2013

As the world watched last week to see if the fragile negotiations inside the United States Senate would finally stick and avert the irreparable harm forecasted to the global economy in the event of a U.S. loan default, Time Magazine reported that “Women are the only adults left in Washington.” Really?


Too few female CEOs? Universities must step in

The Globe and Mail by Barbara Orser 10 October 2013

In the introductory lecture of my entrepreneurship class, I present students with two scenarios. In the first, each student is described as having a brilliant idea for a new business. Optimism and experience leads them to believe that it is a ‘sure fire’ winner. A question is posed: “Who is willing to pursue business start-up?” Hands are raised.


Some leeway needed to keep the Boathouse afloat

The Waterloo Record by Cindy Ward 20 September 2013

Kevin Doyle, the recent tenant of the Boathouse in Victoria Park, has been in the media of late for not paying five months in rent arrears to the City of Kitchener.


Are love, money and glory building blocks to a better world?

The Huffington Post by Giovanna Mingarelli 8 September 2013

Albert Einstein was once asked by a journalist about his formula for success, and he said: “If A is success, I should say the formula is A = X + Y + Z, X being work, Y being play and Z is keeping your mouth shut.”


Quebec women may back values charter: survey

The Montreal Gazette by Brenda O’Neill and Elisabeth Gidengil 4 September 2013

Quebec Premier Pauline Marois’s suggestion that the Charter of Quebec Values due to be tabled next week will assert the equality of women and men is one that may resonate with many Quebec women. Although it remains to be seen what exactly will be banned in the proposed bill, reports suggest it will include religious headgear and other visible religious symbols, in a range of institutions including day-care centres and government offices.


Elementary teachers shun smartphone use

Richmond Hill Liberal by Kim Zarzour (with commentary by IO Grad Barb Payne) 21 August 2013

A push by Ontario’s public elementary teachers to keep student cellphones switched off and stored away during school is getting mixed reviews by parents, students and educators.


Unpaid internships are indefensible

The Ottawa Citizen by Ashley Armstrong 15 August 2013

It was supposed to be the icing on my resumé cake. Instead, it left me making bologna sandwiches part-time at a community center, and wondering: do unpaid internships constitute valuable experience or indefensible exploitation?


Pemex plan spreads an oily sheen over Mexico’s history

The Globe and Mail by Amelia Kiddle 14 August 2013

Seventy-five years ago, Mexican president Lazaro Cardenas announced the expropriation of the U.S. and British oil companies operating in Mexico. The unexpected but popular measure led to the crPemex has been one of the cornerstones of Mexican identity since the expropriation, and Mr. Pena Nieto’s government will face an uphill battle to gain popular support for his proposed amendment to the Mexican constitution.


New Zealand could teach Canada a lot about elections

The London Free Press by Margaret Hoff 10 August 2013

It’s Aug. 1, byelection day in London West. I am a scrutineer, volunteering for my political party. I have three responsibilities.


A heartless deportation

The Ottawa Citizen and The Edmonton Journal by Michelle Stewart 8 August 2013

It has been nearly a month since Harper’s cabinet shuffle and it is time for the new ministers to take leadership roles in their posts. Minister Chris Alexander needs to step out of Jason Kenney’s shadow and bring about much needed changes in the ministry of citizenship and immigration. He can start with the case of two young students who have been hiding in church basements for the past year. View Michelle Stewart’s appearance on Power & Politics and As It Happens.


What difference does a female premier make?

The Ottawa Citizen by Nancy Peckford and Raylene Lang-Dion 25 July 2013

Once upon a time, all a woman had to do to stand out in the crowd of Canadian premiers was to sport a red jacket or a skirt. Now that female leaders constitute half of the exclusive club membership, the salient question has become not what is she wearing, but what difference will all that female energy make?


Special-needs system: Province fixed it worse

The Chronicle Herald by Christine Saulnier, Stella Lord, and Sara Wuite 23 July 2013

The provincial government’s response to our report on special-needs allowances requires a response on two counts in particular.


Lac-Mégantic disaster shows Canada needs a national oil-transport plan

The Globe and Mail by Dayna Nadine Scott 10 July 2013

Only a few short months ago, the rush to move crude oil onto rail cars in North America was described in The Globe and Mail as a “giddy procession of profit”. Not one is laughing any more.


Martin Luther King, Einstein and the Logic of Dignity

The Huffington Post by Giovanna Mingarelli 25 June 2013

It was this week on June 23, 1963, that Dr. Martin Luther King spoke at what he called the largest and greatest demonstration for freedom ever held in the United States in Cobo Hall, Detroit.


The Biology of Childhood Hardship

The Agenda with Steve Paikin interview with IO Grad Marla Sokolowski 20 June 2013

Marla Sokolowski of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research explores how the hardships that some children face, including poverty, poor nutrition or neglect, can lead to biological changes that make them more susceptible to health problems – changes that they may then pass along to their own kids.


It’s time to correct the dysfunction in corrections

The Ottawa Citizen by Kim Pate 12 June 2013

Correctional authorities breaking the law, abusing prisoners, lying about it, destroying and concealing evidence, attacking any colleagues who threaten to break the code of silence?


Retail Rethink

The Quill and Quire by Shirley Lew and Baharak Yousefi 1 June 2013

It may be sacrilegious and antithetical to everything libraries stand for (and as librarians, we appreciate this more than most), but we ardently believe it nevertheless: libraries should get into the business of selling books. Now.


Fierce Canadian Fears for Her Country

The Tyee by Bonnie Klein 27 May 2013 September 1967.

We are holding our breath. We have to get into Canada immediately or Michael, my new husband, will be jailed.


Shaping the Future of Civic Engagement at the White House

The Huffington Post by Giovanna Mingarelli 23 May 2013

I was recently invited to attend a briefing on values and leadership at the White House in Washington, D.C. It was graciously convened by President Obama’s Office of Public Engagement and the D.C. Global Shapers.


Don’t treat history as a civics lesson

The Globe and Mail by Laura Madoroko 23 May 2013

The parliamentary heritage committee’s recent decision to conduct a review of history as it’s presented in Canadian museums and archives has sparked debate across the country about the nature of this history. Proponents of the review believe it will ensure that “Canadians understand that the rights and freedoms we enjoy are a precious inheritance.” But treating Canadian history as a civics lesson is a mistake.


Talking about their babies

The Record by Barbara Aggerholm (with commentary from IO grad Diana Parry) 10 May 2013

After her first child was born, Diana Parry had to resort to what she now calls “stroller-stalking.” Parry was pregnant when she and her husband, Troy Glover, moved to Waterloo in 2003. Both had joined the faculty of the University of Waterloo’s department of recreation and leisure studies.


Occupying the Barbie Dreamhouse: Berliners take on Mattel by Louise Osborne (with commentary from IO Grad Marina Bettaglio) 5 May 2013

A luxurious life-size playhouse complete with a kitchen ready to bake cupcakes, a walk-in closet and a dazzling jewelry display – all in pink. Every little girl’s dream, or so believe Mattel and EMS Entertainment, the masterminds behind the Barbie Dreamhouse Experience soon to open its doors in the center of Berlin.


Last in a series: Bipolar disorder, depression the focus of innovative research

The Vancouver Sun by Gerry Bellett 10 May 2013 (Profiles the research of Erin Michalak, IO Grad)

Seldom does a person suffering from severe mental illness find relief right away. More likely it involves a protracted journey through medication and psychotherapy, or such treatments as transcranial magnetic stimulation or electroconvulsive therapy.


A Tale of Two Mothers

The Hamilton Spectator by Dena Thomas 10 May 2013

I have a friend who lives a very different life than I do. She is not permitted to share her opinion about how many children she would like to have or how close to space them. In contrast, my husband and I spent a great deal of time discussing and planning the size of family we desired, balancing such dreams with our professional and personal life goals.


Single mothers face unique, significant challenges

The Vancouver Sun by Janet Austin 9 May 2013

As we celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, we recognize the wonderful women who are the backbone of our communities that have sacrificed so much for their children and families. However, we must also pay homage to those who arguably have the toughest job of all — single mothers.


Prepare for next wave of viruses

The Vancouver Sun by Carol Amaratunga 7 May 2013

Caught off guard by the 2003 SARS pandemic, we should be ready to handle the likes of H7N9 Influenza A case.


Open letter: Thou shalt not commit sociology (or critical thinking of any kind)

The Georgia Straight by Veronica Strong-Boag & Gillian Creese 29 April 2013

The anti-intellectualism of Stephen Harper demands a reply. In face of global capitalism’s mounting crisis, critical interrogation of social phenomena, causes and consequences is urgently needed. We invite Canadians to ‘commit sociology’ and indeed ‘history’, ‘literary criticism’, ‘philosophy’, ‘political science’, ‘anthropology’, ‘critical legal studies,’ ‘political economy’, and ‘feminist studies’.


How big is Canada’s terrorism threat?

CNN by Veronica Kitchen 24 April 2013

News that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s “Project Smooth” foiled an alleged terrorist plot in Canada was greeted in some quarters with the usual tongue-in-cheek surprise that violent extremists would target a “nice country” like Canada. But the fact is that Canada has long been concerned with its status as a potential terrorist target.


Temporary foreign workers are a temporary fix

The Globe and Mail by Catherine Connelly 10 April 2013

Despite their claims, companies that hire temporary foreign workers are unlikely to save much money in the long term.


Sleepwalking toward a flood disaster?

The Leader-Post by Dena McMartin 28 March 2013

The longer that cold weather delays the spring melt, the faster it will happen when it finally comes. The sun will be higher in the sky and when it warms up, it’ll warm up to stay. We’re not going to experience a slow and sweet farewell to snow. It will hit fast and hard.


Taking on Canada’s Chronic and Growing Skills Shortage

CPAC: PrimeTime Politics with Peter Van Dusen interviewed Informed Opinions participant Nobina Robinson, CEO of Polytechnics Canada, 19 March 2013 about skills training in Canada.


Businesses must share responsibility for shortage of skilled workers

The Globe and Mail by Nobina Robinson 6 March 2013

Twenty years after the “brain drain” of the 1990s, a new threat to the supply of talent in Canada is apparent. Key industry sectors and leading employers in Canada are warning of a skills shortage and a lack of skilled tradespeople. Others call this a skills “mismatch.” Governments are under pressure to enact a range of labour market “interventions,” from short-term fixes to immigration to new investment in training and skills upgrading to changes to existing talent support programs.


Time to curb inequality in Atlantic Canada

The Chronicle Herald by Christine Saulnier and Jason Edwards 5 February 2013

Statistics Canada released new data last week on high-income trends in Canada, with barely a mention of the Atlantic provinces. The data told a story that was more striking for most of the rest of the country, and in particular for Alberta, Ontario, B.C. and Quebec, where 92 per cent of the top one per cent of tax filers are found, with only 3.4 per cent in Atlantic Canada.


Canadian politics needs a commitment to gender parity

The Globe and Mail by Kim Campbell 29 January 2013

Kathleen Wynne’s election on the weekend as leader of the Ontario Liberals means that 87 per cent of Canadians now reside in provinces and territories led by women. As someone who remains disappointed, 20 years on, that I’ve still been the only female prime minister, rather than just the first one, I celebrate this important democratic milestone.


Patients can help avoid looming ‘antibiotic apocalypse’

The Toronto Star by Kelly Grindrod 29 January 2013

If the chief medical officer of England is to be believed, an “antibiotic apocalypse” is imminent. Dame Sally Davies made headlines when she warned British MPs about antibiotic resistance. She envisions the following medical scenario: “When I need a new hip in 20 years I’ll die from a routine infection because we’ve run out of antibiotics.” And she’s not alone: the World Health Organization also flagged this critical problem — two years ago.


Bail and Violence Against Women

CBC Radio: The Sunday Edition with Michael Enright interviewed Informed Opinions participant Elizabeth Sheehy 27 January 2013 about the troubling issues surrounding charges of violence against women, the rights of the accused – and the protection of victims.


Why Trinity Western University should not have a law school

The National Post by Jenna McGill, Angela Cameron, Elaine Craig, Mark L. Berlin, Amy Sakalauskas, Mathieu Bouchard, Preston Parsons and Danielle Jarvis 24 January 2013

Two articles published in the Wednesday edition of the National Post opinion pages expressed support for the proposal by Trinity Western University (TWU) in Langley, B.C., to establish Canada’s first Christian law school. Both articles betray an overly simplified understanding of the considerations necessary in looking at this issue.


Women not welcome on Toronto’s executive committee

The Toronto Star by Reggie Modlich 22 January 2013

What does it mean for women in Toronto that not one of the 13 councillors originally nominated to the city’s 2013 executive committee was a woman? This powerful committee works with the mayor to set priorities for the city’s agenda, labour relations and several other important areas. When Councillor Janet Davis protested the gender imbalance on the slate, she was told that the most qualified councillors were nominated. In other words, the striking (nominating) committee considered none of the 15 (34 per cent) women — many of them with extensive experience — on the 44 member council as qualified for the executive committee.


Battered women’s defences still in question

The Ottawa Citizen by Elizabeth Sheehy and Carissima Mathen 18 January 2013

Nicole Ryan’s legal jeopardy has ended, even though the Supreme Court yesterday ruled that her effort to hire a hit man to kill her estranged husband could be not be “excused” by the defence of duress. The question of whether her act could have been “justified” by self-defence was left unanswered. The Court ordered a stay of proceedings. It decided that although the Crown had won its appeal, it would be grossly unfair to subject Ryan to a new trial. The Court’s unusual decision should be taken as a call to improve the resources and support available to battered women.


Rescind cuts to funding

The Winnipeg Free Press by Karine Levasseur 17 January 2013

Imagine being an executive director of a local charity whose grant from the City of Winnipeg may suddenly be reduced by 10 per cent. Now, imagine you have already spent or allocated that funding and have to replace it in a competitive funding environment.


Judges, Veils and the Myth of a Guilty Expression

The Tyee by Kerri A. Froc 5 January 2013

If a court were to apply a certain legal test that results in decisions being made in favour of the same party almost invariably every time it is employed, we would likely think it was fundamentally flawed. Legal tests are meant to be a neutral way of ascertaining appropriate outcomes that do not provide either party with undeserved advantage; they aren’t meant to enable decision makers to simply “go through the motions” to achieve the same result, time after time. However, the Supreme Court of Canada has propounded a legal test that results in exactly this scenario in its decision, R. v. N.S., released on Dec. 20.