In just a couple of weeks I will be attending the Women Deliver 2019 Conference - the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and well being of girls and women in the 21st century; and it is taking place here in British Columbia, in Vancouver! More than 6,000 world leaders, parliamentarians, royals, private sector executives, civil society leaders, young people, advocates, academics, activists, and journalists from over 160 countries will gather in Vancouver from 3-6 June 2019. More than 100,000 more will participate online and in satellite sessions across the globe before, during, and after the event. Women Deliver 2019 Mobilization Canada is a motivating platform that provides an opportunity to advance the conversation and the public’s engagement around gender equality and the health, rights and well being of women and girls.
Sacred Learning Space is partnering with Howe Sound Women’s Centre to encourage parents of young children, 0-6 years, to start the conversation around sexual health early. It starts with feeling comfortable using the scientific terms of private parts right from the day children are born. The conversation continues with teaching children body safety around private parts and types of touch. Having these conversations early provides a protective factor against sexual abuse.
As our children grow, children often want to ask their parents the difficult questions around sexuality, however they will go to other sources if parents have not addressed sexuality either in conversation or through role modelling. This is why I encourage parents to start the conversation as soon as possible. This models to children right away that parents are open to discussing sexuality. As well, it allows parents the time to examine their own beliefs and values around sexuality.
Sexuality is a term that includes many concepts, including gender identity and gender equality. According to a 2017 report from the McKinsey Global Institute, progress toward gender equality has actually slowed in Canada over the last 20 years. In fact, at current rates, gender gaps could take 30 to 180 years to close in the country. For example, it would take 30 years to close the wage gap, 140 years to close the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) occupation gap, and 180 years to close the gap in entrepreneurship. Fully closing the #GenderGap in work would add up to $28 trillion to the global GDP by 2025.
Let’s start the conversation early around sexuality: around body science terms and safety, gender identity and gender equality. Please join me, Mary Saugstad, RN on Thursday, May 30 from 9am to 10am at Howe Sound Women’s Centre in Squamish (38021 3 Ave, Squamish, BC) to start the conversation. Parents and their children (0-6 years old) are invited to this one hour free event. The first half hour is a body science class for the children and parents which reviews the scientific terms of the body, including the genitals (with the help of the anatomically correct dolls Terry and Terry), body safety around private parts and types of touch, and gender identity. The second half hour is a question and answer session for all participants to ask me any questions around sexuality. Please RSVP by May 29, as space is limited. If you are interested in hosting a similar event in the future, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.