Frequently Asked Questions
Learn more about the terminology surrounding our work.
"Sexualized violence is an act of power and control that is expressed in a sexual way. It is not limited to sexual assault (i.e. unwanted sexual contact), but includes cultural norms of gender roles and expectations where anyone who steps outside of the “gender boxes” of men and women, that is to say people who do not conform to gender stereotypes are potentially subject to violence."
- Victoria Sexual Assault Centre
Why do we call it Sexualized Assault vs. Sexual Assault?
The term sexual assault is commonly used in the sector and justice systems. However, we use the term sexualized assault because the term sexual assault implies that these assaults are sexual acts. Sexual acts are consensual. Acts like rape, however, are not consensual. If we use language that makes it seem like these kinds of violent acts are consensual, we mask or hide the violence that is inherent in these acts.
GENDER EQUALITY, EQUITY vs. JUSTICE
While these terms are quite similar in that they each acknowledge that people do not have equal access to benefits and opportunities based on their gender and the goal is to rebalance that, the difference between them comes down to how those differences are addressed.
Gender equality -
means simply the equal status between genders (i.e. men, women, and gender-diverse individuals). It is addressed by giving each group the same resources and opportunities.
Gender equity -
has the same goal but recognizes where each gender is starting from. So, some genders need a leg up to even reach the same level of opportunity and benefit as the dominant group.
Gender justice -
looks more to the wider system and tries to fix the ingrained barriers that exist so that access to the systems is more equitable in the long term.
Milken Institute School of Public Health. Equity vs. equality: What’s the difference? Online Public Health Resources. 2020
FORMAL vs. SUBSTANTIVE EQUITY
In the discussion around equity, especially as it relates to law and our experiences of the law, one must differentiate between formal and substantive equity. What this means is that there is a difference between the intention of law and how it plays out for people in real life. We must look critically at both to achieve gender equity and justice. The difference between the two could be thought of as intention vs. impact (Feminist Law Reform 101).
Formal equity - refers to equity within formal structures (i.e., laws, legislation, policies)
Substantive equity - refer to how to structures impact people in different ways.
“We can change all the laws in the country but it still might not make a big difference in people's lives. Laws aren't everything; what is formally legislated doesn’t always translate to what we see in practice. Having good equity laws doesn’t mean that they promote equity because depending on your social location those formal structures impact your experiences quite differently as a function of your social location and are not being upheld in the court the same way. That’s why we have to make sure that people enforcing and upholding the law are consistent.”
- Aja Mason, Yukon Status of Women Council, Apr 4, 2022
“PAR seeks to understand and improve the world by changing it. At its heart is collective, self reflective inquiry that researchers and participants undertake, so they can understand and improve upon the practices in which they participate and the situations in which they find themselves. The reflective process is directly linked to action, influenced by understanding of history, culture, and local context and embedded in social relationships.” - Baum, MacDougall, & Smith, 2006, p. 854
How is it different from other forms of research?
It is situated in and propelled by the community, is participatory, and is action-driven. Traditional power imbalances between the researcher and the “researched” are broken down. Community members are meaningfully involved throughout the research process, from proposal and research question development to conducting interviews and analyzing/acting on the results. This increases the self-determination of those most affected by the issue being studied. Both the process and the results of the research are beneficial to the community, as each stage builds on the next in a spiral process of reflection and action. A variety of methods can be used, including mixed methods approaches, so that actions derived from the research are informed by, and value, different types of data.
Baum, F, MacDougall, C., Smith, D. Participatory action research. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 60(10):854-857. 2006. doi: 10.1136/jech.2004.028662
Minkler, M., & Wallerstein, N. (Eds.). (2010). Community-based participatory research for health: From process to outcomes. John Wiley & Sons.
Community-Based Research Canada, Approach
Simply put, research ethics attempts to maximize benefits, while minimizing the harm done by research to humans and non-humans; living and non-living participants. In research, just like in society, there are certain rules or norms that govern our behaviour. Ethics can be considered as a method, procedure, practice, or interpretation of those rules for analyzing and navigating complex issues. Ethics can be both procedural and practical.
The procedural aspects include the steps necessary in seeking approval for and regulating the research by an external entity like research ethics board, committee, or community advisory board. The practice of ethics, on the other hand, involves navigating the everyday issues that arise and ethically important decisions that are made during a research process. This on-the-ground practice of ethics may relate to the research itself, but also includes considerations of being a human involved in research. The YSWC holds ethical practice in high regard and, therefore, engages in individual and group reflection/reflexion, and continuously engages in broadening our knowledge about, and sensitization to considerations that shape ethics-in-practice. Research conducted by not-for-profits in the Yukon is not regulated in the same way that research conducted by universities is. The YSWC collaborates with researchers who are affiliated with universities for the majority of our projects. However, because the process of obtaining ethics approval through a research ethics board is contingent on a university affiliation and/or can be lengthy, there are instances when ethics approval is not accessible. In such instances, as always, YSWC uses OCAP and TCPS-2 principles to guide our ethics considerations.
Is all research inherently good for society?
No. Not all research is created equal. There is no doubt that humans have benefited from research knowledge, but it’s clear that not all research benefits have been widely shared and there are many instances where research has proven to be extractive, exploitative, and harmful, especially for marginalized populations. When it comes to research with humans, it takes careful, informed considerations of the political, cultural, historical, environmental, and social aspects involved in both the procedures and practice of research.
Guillemin & Gillam, 2004, Ethics, reflexivity, and "ethically important moments" in research.
Resnik, David B (2020). What is ethics in research & why is it important? National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. United States Government.
Panel on Research Ethics. TCPS 2 (2018) – Chapter 1: Ethics Framework. Government of Canada.
Van Bibber, M. and George, A. (2012). Doing good health research in northern Indigenous communities: A guide to research review. Whitehorse Yukon: Arctic Institute of Community Based Research. 23pp.
OCAP stands for Ownership, Control, Access, and Possession. These four ethical principles/standards outline how First Nations data should be collected, protected, used, or shared. Learn more at: http://fnigc.ca/ocapr.html.
Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2) is a joint policy of Canada’s three federal research agencies – the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). It reflects the ethical standards that guide the ethical conduct of research involving humans.
Merriam-Webster defines advocacy as the “act or process of supporting a cause or proposal”. It comes from the Latin word “advocare” which means to “call out for support”. It is a social change process which looks critically at an issue, puts it on the agenda, and provides solutions to that problem while building support for action (Culture and Creativity). One can advocate for themselves (self-advocacy), on behalf of another individual (individual advocacy) or advocate to change policies, laws or rules that impact a group of individuals (systems advocacy) (West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities).
What is systems advocacy?
This type of advocacy includes the analysis of the systems which we interact with in our day-to-day lives (our healthcare, political systems, environmental systems, judicial systems, etc.) and how these systems impact individuals and perpetuate barriers through policy, laws, rules, or even generally held beliefs. The outcome of systems advocacy can be concrete, such as policy change, or more abstract, such as a change in dominant perspectives or organizational culture. It often includes coalition building and the cultivation of collaborative relationships because systems are made up of people and it is people who can both drive and implement changes needed for the system.
Resource Sharing Project: https://resourcesharingproject.org/
Policy encompasses guidelines developed intentionally to shape how something is done, typically to achieve a specific outcome. Public Policy generally is in reference to government action, outlining the government's views on a topic and the best or preferred method of carrying it out to achieve a certain objective or objectives (The Canadian Encyclopedia). A policy can include both doing something or not doing something about a particular issue. Policies can have a profound impact on all aspects of our lives, from the foods we eat, the amount of money we make, how we learn and are treated at work, as well as how public safety is maintained.
The term feminism can be thought of from both political and intellectual perspectives. Throughout history, as with any social movement, there have been different meanings and disagreements over what the term really means. Some may equate it to a particular political movement, while others set out to address it on moral grounds. Still, others may use it to pursue philosophical questions. At the end of the day, it comes down to oppression and for us at the Yukon Status of Women Council, we use the term to describe our commitment to the anti-oppression of all those who identify as a woman.
“Feminism is grounded on the belief that women are oppressed or disadvantaged by comparison with men, and that their oppression is in some way illegitimate or unjustified. Under the umbrella of this general characterization there are, however, many interpretations of women and their oppression, so that it is a mistake to think of feminism as a single philosophical doctrine, or as implying an agreed political program.” - James 1998: 576 as quoted in McAfee, 2018
Intersectional Feminism, coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, is a term to describe how different forms of discrimination come together. It recognizes that people’s experiences are shaped by more than just their gender but that intersecting social identity like race, ethnicity, age, ability, sexual orientation, class, culture, education, and image or geography, among others, impact their experiences in the world.
Why is it important?
Taking an intersectional lens to feminism allows us to see the invisible barriers that are contained in, and realized by, our power structures (i.e. systems, institutions, socio-economic and political practices) and how they influence some groups more than others. Understanding where and how power and identity intersect allows us to dismantle barriers and achieve gender justice (Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women).
Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women. Feminist Intersectionality and GBA+. no date.
Disaggregated data is a tool exposing the often invisible ways that different marginalizations and intersectional identities interact with inequity and power. When one conducts a study, often data is analyzed in a compressed or summary form (National Collaborative Centre for Aboriginal Health).
What is the difference between disaggregated data and aggregated data?
For example, you are conducting a study on the impacts of mining on communities. You may look at, and show the data for the entire community according to the different outcomes you are interested in, such as mental health, safety, income, etc. This would be considered aggregate data because it shows a summary of the impacts on an entire population. Disaggregate data would break down those impacts according to different groups within the community; so for example, women vs. men, or according to age, or Indigenous vs. non-Indigenous identity. This would show how the impacts of mining are affecting some people differently than others. Having this information will help to target action where it would be most impactful. Not having disaggregated data not only hinders us from understanding the full severity of a problem and what is truly going on but also obstructs gender justice.
GENDER-BASED ANALYSIS PLUS
Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) is another tool to explore intersectionality. It’s a way to analyze information about systemic inequities and measure how diverse groups of people experience policies, programs and initiatives. It not only includes people’s experiences based on gender and biological sex but also how these factors interact with race, ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability, other social influences/identities (Women and Gender Canada).