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Of gender and school trustees

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Women made up about 48 per cent of school trustees the past four years, by far the highest proportional representation of women at any political level, so I’ll be keeping my eye on the Oct. 27 results.

There’s pretty much an even gender split among acclaimed candidates across Manitoba, one or two either way, depending on several first names which could be either men or women.

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Overall, women make up 45.6 per cent of the candidates who have not been acclaimed, and most of that difference is covered by Winnipeg and Brandon — outside of the two biggest cities, the field is pretty much split between men and women. Here and Brandon, significantly more men are running than women.

The same thing happened in 2006, but even though women were the definite minority among Winnipeg candidates in the six large city divisions, women’s success rate was better than the proportion of candidates --- they won 24 seats to 28 for men.

Nowhere is the candidate gender disparity so striking as in Louis Riel School Division, where two men have been acclaimed, and two women are running against 12 men for the remaining seven seats.

Any scholars out there want to take a more-intensive look at gender issues? Education, polisci, gender studies, anyone?

And switching topics......

Yet another annoying, irritating reminder to school board candidates that the deadline for taking part in our on-line coverage is Thursday at 5 p.m.

Visit our story Pay Attention, Class, to find our list of questions. Then send your answers to trusteeanswers@freepress.mb.ca.

If you choose not to take part, you don’t get to whine and attack us for allegedly ignoring your campaign.

Harumph.

Meanwhile, following up on that and speaking as a voter, I have six candidates running for three seats in my ward. I know the incumbents, one newcomer has a website but hasn’t been to my door yet and I haven’t seen any signs, the other two newcomers are a complete mystery — no signs, no literature, no websites, Google turned up zilch, and they haven’t responded to our online questions.

As my attention span wavers......

OK, so what I take out of the complaint about me that Premier Greg Selinger’s office made to my boss, I won’t get sitdown or phone interviews with Education Minister Nancy Allan or Advanced Education Minister Diane McGifford, when I want them to give detailed, reasoned, thoughtful responses on lengthier in-depth stories. The kind of time that TV would get by bringing a camera to the minister’s office.

I’m to go to a public appearance and/or press conference by a minister, then try to get one or two sentences on the fly while she’s there to talk about something completely different — which, incidentally, would entail giving away to all the other hovering media that I was working on a major systemic education piece.

Oh, also, for Greg’s staff, does this mean that the admonition not to bring up other subjects at press conferences, your long-standing rule that if I want to ask about something else that I have to make an appointment to see the minister or book a phone interview through the premier’s press office, does this mean that all of those rules and procedures are now inoperative?

Speaking of people who don’t return my calls, I can’t recall having had any calls to the U of W Students Association executive that was installed last spring returned, and now UMSU didn’t call back last week. Are you both simply deferring on all matters to the Canadian Federation of Students, or did I do something specific to offend you?

Segue.

Whir, buzz, click.

I was on the Manitoba Teachers’ Society tour of Seven Oaks schools on Tuesday, riding the yellow school bus, at one point pulling up at the four-way stop next to Garden City Collegiate. I’m normally no fan of defacing public property, but under the STOP sign, someone had added the word ‘homophobia’.

And in another seamless segue, I had to take Waterloo on my way to Reh-Fit because Ash was chopped up, and passed one of the notorious so-called roundabouts. It’s certainly not a roundabout as I’ve encountered on Waterfront Drive, barely had to twitch the car to get around it, it’s more of a big bump in the middle of the road.

All this talk about cyclists throughout the paper, so time to update you that child the elder is back in Peterborough, having played in the alumni volleyball game last weekend during Head of the Trent festivities, will soon head for the border to re-enter the U.S. for the major portion of his bike trip.

I’ve been amazed at the generosity and trust he’s encountered from strangers. In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, one couple from Couch Surfers emailed that they’d be away when he reached their town, but here’s where we hide the spare key, help yourself to the house. Or the family in Wisconsin who met him in a restaurant, chatted him up about his cycling trip as he used the Wi-Fi and nursed a snack, and treated him to a Big Mac full meal. Or the dairy farm he and his overnight hosts visited in Ashland, Wisconsin, which features a ‘store’ with cooler and freezer, where you help yourself to cheese and milk and eggs and ice cream and yogurt, write down what you’re taking, and leave the money in a drop box — honour system, no staff, no cameras.

So, soon to enter the 13 Colonies on his bike, two home stays lined up with my PEI first cousins in Massachusetts, and then south....sigh.......

I’m amazed at how many hits he’s getting on his journal. You can check it out, daily entries and a zillion photos.

And after three weeks, the only motorist we’ve heard about who’s given him a hard time remains the guy in the red Calibre just the other side of Steinbach on the day he left home.

Moving right along.......

Not that anyone cares, but I gave up on The Event after two episodes. I don’t care why the aliens are here, or how many U.S. government conspiracies are involved. It was a mess, certainly no Lost, or X-Files, or Fringe.

Those are shows I watched by myself, or watch by myself in the case of Fringe, as I watch Boardwalk Empire on my own and will watch V when it returns. Together we watch The Tudors — as a history major, I know when something really gross is about to happen and can give a heads-up, and no, I won’t give away how things turn out for Culpepper — and we watch Masterpiece Mystery with the superb Wallander and wonderful Inspector Lewis, and we’re just thrilled beyond belief to learn that The Murdoch Mysteries will be back for a fourth season of 1890s Toronto police work. When last seen, Dr. Ogden was taking the train to run the new children’s hospital in Buffalo, and Murdoch couldn’t bicycle to the station in time to give her the ring before her train pulled out of Toronto......yes, I know, get a life, but it’s a great series and so engagingly Canadian.

 

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