Informed Opinions’ founder and catalyst Shari Graydon draws on decades of column and op ed writing experience in leading the workshops. She keeps her hand in the game by continuing to offer context and analysis related to the portrayal and representation of women in a range of contexts.

Project manager Meredith Dault is overseeing the development of Informed Opinions’ database of female experts, ExpertWomen.ca/FemmesExpertes.ca. After a career in communications where she drafted a good number of op-eds for other people, she published her first under her own name in March 2016.

 

Op Ed: The problem with Wonder Woman as a UN role model

The Toronto Star by Shari Graydon 14 December 2016

She’s a kick-ass heroine, the only famous female superhero in a pantheon of dudes, and her creators were inspired by birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger. Despite that level of awesomeness, I’m with the almost 45,000 petitioners who thought Wonder Woman’s moonlighting as honorary UN ambassador wasn’t the best use of her talents.

 

Op Ed: Yes, it matters a lot that Viola Desmond will be on our $10 bill

The Ottawa Citizen by Shari Graydon 8 December 2016

Is putting Viola Desmond on the Canadian $10 bill crass symbolism or a significant step forward?

 

Op Ed: We’re all standing on Hillary Clinton’s Shoulders

The Ottawa Citizen by Constance Backhouse and Shari Graydon 14 November 2016

We are haunted by this image: a small woman in a tailored pantsuit, waiting to debate a large, imposing man. They’re on stage, beneath glaring lights, in a packed auditorium.

 

Op Ed: Trump may be the women’s movements’ best recruitment tool yet

The Huffington Post by Shari Graydon 17 October 2016

Donald Trump may be the best recruitment tool the women’s movement has ever had.

 

Op Ed: Hillary Clinton and our culture of ‘bitch’ bias

Ottawa Sun by Meredith Dault 23 July 2016

When I was in my late-teens, I acquired a T-shirt that raised a few eyebrows. It sported a black and white image of two women, with a speech bubble hovering over one of their heads as if she was speaking. Its contents? “Life’s a bitch and so am I.”

 

Op Ed: Speak up, sister

Ottawa Citizen by Meredith Dault 7 March 2016

I once sat at a table and listened to a highly educated woman try to avoid describing herself as an expert. An academic at a well-regarded university, who also held one of the highest research-awards available in Canada, she shifted uncomfortably in her seat. She then admitted that her reluctance to embrace her own authority meant she was also reluctant to engage with journalists when they called her for an interview.

 

Op Ed: Tracking women in the media: A survey I wish were obsolete

The Globe and Mail by Shari Graydon 10 March 2016

Women were dying to get into the headlines – literally. It was 1993, and Media Action was reviewing research documenting the ratio of male and female voices in Canadian media. Seeing that our annual study showed a slight increase in the previously stalled tally of female newsmakers (up to 22 per cent, from 19 per cent the previous year), we were momentarily excited.

 

Op Ed: Women too often shut out of public discourse

The Toronto Star by Shari Graydon 4 March 2016

The most compelling moment for me in Chris Rock’s takedown of this year’s Oscar whitewash was the video footage he shot in the mostly black neighbourhood of Compton (not coincidentally, the location of a critically acclaimed movie that was shut out of this year’s awards show).

 

Op Ed: One line in a job posting that spoke volumes about ‘women’s work’

The Globe and Mail by Shari Graydon 26 November 2015

It takes a special kind of genius to denigrate women and discriminate against men in a single sentence. Consider the volume of mainstream and social-media attention generated this week by Toronto Web development firm Vestra Inet, in its quest for a qualified content writer and search-engine optimization specialist.

 

Op Ed: Gender parity in cabinet is more than good optics

The Globe and Mail by Shari Graydon 4 November 2015

Was Justin Trudeau’s promise to have women fill 50 per cent of his cabinet positions: (a) A crass play for progressive optics? (b) A lamentable abandonment of our long tradition of meritocracy? (c) Good public policy?

 

Op Ed: How to present years of scholarly work in 30 minutes

University Affairs by Shari Graydon 7 October 2015

Delivering presentations is one of the foundations of scholarly work. But doing so outside of the classroom invariably poses different challenges. Becoming adept at crafting compelling presentations that engage a variety of audiences increases an academic’s opportunities to get others excited about their work.

 

Op Ed: In sexual assault, experience matters

Ottawa Sun by Shari Graydon 30 August 2015

Hands up if you think that calling a kiss on the cheek “sexual assault” is an indefensible exaggeration.

 

Op Ed: The lowdown on women and up-talking

The Globe and Mail by Shari Graydon 31 July 2015

Imagine you’re on an overseas flight and the pilot’s voice interrupts your movie with a series of announcements disconcertingly phrased as questions: “Ladies and gentlemen? We’re expecting heavy turbulence in the next little while? You’ll want to remain seated, with your seat belts fastened?” You’d probably feel a little unnerved by the up-talking uncertainty.

 

Op Ed: In the age of social media, not all publicity is good publicity

The Globe and Mail by Shari Graydon 14 May 2015

Watching a Toronto television reporter’s televised smackdown of two soccer fans’ juvenile behaviour this week, I couldn’t help but wonder: How do the reputation-management folks at the Bank of Montreal feel about the free publicity they’re getting?

 

Op Ed: What U of O has learned about sexual violence

Ottawa Citizen by Shari Graydon 29 January 2015

Reckless Facebook fans and camera-equipped cell phones make documenting the presence of sexual violence almost a walk in the park. Especially, it must be admitted, if the park borders a neighbourhood pub, sports centre or frat house.

 

Op ed: High heeled shoes shouldn’t be mandatory

Ottawa Citizen by Shari Graydon 27 December 2014

The two stars’ red carpet behaviour was a study in contrasts:

Hugh Jackman, resplendent in a crisp, dark suit, bounded energetically down the queue of screaming fans lining Yonge Street, clasping hands, posing for selfies and signing autographs.

 

Op ed: Why the Whitecaps video offends so many people

The Province by Shari Graydon 19 September 2014

Did you catch the footage of three young, blond-haired female fans bouncing up and down in elation at a Whitecaps soccer game? In light of the controversy it inspired, did you shake your head in consternation and wonder, “What the hang’s wrong with this?”

Op ed: Why we need more women in the media

The Toronto Star by Shari Graydon 19 September 2014

You probably didn’t notice, but in newspapers and newscasts across North America recently the number of references to women went up, along with the amount of ink and air time given to exploring how they think and what influences their decisions.

 

Op ed: You can help raise the level of public debate

University Affairs by Shari Graydon 23 July 2014

If you think your research is worthy of attention, are you doing all you can to make sure it has the best opportunity to make a difference?

Op ed: National glory isn’t about winning a game

Ottawa Citizen by Shari Graydon 11 July 2014

When I saw the repeated references to the shame and dishonor Brazilians felt over the defeat of their national soccer team at the feet of the Germans, I had to turn to my dictionary for help.

 

Op ed: It’s not just women who need to dress for success

The Globe and Mail by Shari Graydon 25 June 2014

I wouldn’t have noticed the woman’s leopard-skin bra straps if she hadn’t mentioned them. But she pointed them out in response to my advice to the room full of aspiring politicians at a campaign school. I had just acknowledged the sexist frames often used to describe high-profile women, and recommended that candidates consider avoiding displays of cleavage while on the campaign trail, in order to keep attention on their more relevant qualifications.

 

Op ed: Parliament is still Mad Men territory for women, and that’s bad news for democracy

The Globe and Mail by Shari Graydon 1 May 2014

At least some of the audience’s weeping was laughter-induced. But it was hard to tell how much.

 

Op ed: The affirmative action plan for straight, white men

The Ottawa Citizen by Shari Graydon 23 September 2013

Here’s an interesting contradiction: the business mantra “What gets measured gets done” is universally understood as an effective way to monitor many aspects of performance.

 

Op ed: Entitled or empowered in cyberspace

The Ottawa Citizen by Shari Graydon 16 August 2013

Do you feel empowered by cyberspace? How you answer the question may reveal all sorts of things about you: how you view the opportunities afforded by social media; how savvy you are about online privacy settings; and how inclined you are to use the internet’s cloak of anonymity to transmit malicious messages or post pictures of your penis.

 

Column: What Kate’s baby bump tells us

The Ottawa Citizen, The Montreal Gazette, The Calgary Herald, The Edmonton Journal by Shari Graydon 27 July 2013

My colleague Claire recently introduced her 3-year-old daughter to her just-born twin brothers, relocated to the outside of Claire’s body only a few hours earlier. Lily regarded her mother’s tummy in confusion.

“More babies inside?” she asked.

 

Column: A very modern walk in Laura Secord’s steps

The Ottawa Citizen, by Shari Graydon 1 July 2013

It turns out that the recently promoted “scientific 7-minute workout” is not the best training for a 32-kilometre walk in the footsteps of the iconic Laura Secord. As much as it gets your heart pumping, a condensed routine of a dozen 30-second bursts of jumping jacks, pushups and lunges, barely interrupted by 10-second rest periods, fails to prepare your butt, thigh and foot muscles for the strain and pain of a demanding hike across the Niagara Escarpment.

 

Our anthem should include us all

The Montreal Gazette, by Shari Graydon 30 June 2013

It’s like poking a hornet’s nest: Dare to suggest that the words to the English version of our national anthem should be altered to include the 50 per cent of the population they currently leave out, and you’re guaranteed to provoke an angry reaction of stinging attacks.

 

Column: Liberalizing prostitution laws won’t protect women

The Ottawa Citizen, by Shari Graydon 14 June 2013

Former bawdy house owner Terri-Jean Bedford and her colleagues are asking the Supreme Court to strike down the laws that currently make street soliciting, brothels and pimping illegal. They’ve framed their petition as one that will deliver prostituted women from danger and victimization into safety and control.

If only they were right.

 

Telecommuting is not a right

The Globe and Mail by Shari Graydon 7 March 2013

Give Marissa Mayer a break – not to mention a little credit for showing leadership.

 

It turns out sex doesn’t sell. Someone should tell the Wheat Board

The Globe and Mail, by Shari Graydon 4 February 2013

Images of farmers – male or female – are extremely rare in the news or pop culture, despite the fact that all of us depend on their labour for our survival. So last month, when the Canadian Wheat Board launched a new advertising campaign that featured an artist’s rendering of a female rancher straddling a wooden fence, the picture stood out. Unfortunately, for the wrong reasons.

 

Academe’s glass ceiling comes at a high cost to society

The Globe and Mail, by Shari Graydon 22 November 2012

If only men could become pregnant, Canada’s innovation gap would disappear, and we’d have access to vast reservoirs of untapped creativity and brilliance.

 

Telefilm Canada neglects female filmmakers

Toronto Star, by Shari Graydon 27 October 2012

I took encouragement from my failure last month to score tickets to my top two picks at the Toronto International Film Festival. Even though I stumbled out of bed to line up hours before sunrise, and was still turned away empty-handed, my fruitless quest to gain entry to the coveted screenings of both Stories We Tell and Midnight’s Children gave me heart.

 

With two strong women in the Alberta premiers’ race, gender’s a non-starter

The Globe and Mail, by Shari Graydon 23 April 2012

When former U.S. presidential hopeful John McCain vaulted Sarah Palin from the Alaska governor’s chair to a seat potentially one heartbeat away from the Oval Office, his campaign celebrated the appointment as a “game changer.” And as a recent TV movie by that name chronicled, it did radically alter the narrative of the 2008 American election – just not in the way Republicans had hoped.

 

America’s rival to Laura Secord shines light on women in history

The Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver Sun and Edmonton Journal, by Shari Graydon 28 November 2011

As insults go, it’s a pretty mild one. But as Canadians gear up to mark the 200th anniversary of the battle that secured our future as an independent nation, a gauntlet has been thrown down, and the bravery of our most famous heroine has been dismissed as a mere walk in the park.

 

Gender inequality isn’t a “women’s issue”

The Ottawa Citizen, by Shari Graydon 5 July 2011

Ottawa residents scanning headlines could be forgiven for thinking they live in a post-feminist age: France’s Christine Lagarde is now managing director of the International Monetary Fund; German Chancellor Angela Merkel is deemed one of the most influential women in the world; and even Thailand has just elected its first ever female Prime Minister in Yingluck Shinawatra.

 

Breast implants are still a gamble

The Globe and Mail, by Shari Graydon 30 June 2011

The character Cameron Diaz plays in Bad Teacher so embodies the film’s title that viewers might conclude she deserves those breast implants she’s so intent on having. But I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s latest review of the data about their long-term health implications hasn’t changed my mind.

 

Making a case for media engagement

Academic Matters, by Shari Graydon 18 May 2011

For three years in the mid-1990’s, I had the privilege of sending a weekly memo to thousands of readers of the Vancouver Sun on whatever topic most concerned me. Only a small fraction of them replied (often, it must be admitted, in language that made clear their profound disagreement with my position, syntax, or gender). And yet it was such a deeply satisfying exercise that I occasionally still seek to re-live the experience.

 

Matter. Of. Fact. If only government decisions were…

The Globe and Mail, by Shari Graydon 13 September 2010

I depend on my mechanic to identify the source of my 12-year-old car’s ignition problem before charging me $500 for a new part and the labour required to replace it. I count on my doctor to review the research into the long-term side effects of hormore replacement therapy before advising me about whether or not my body-drenching hot flashes can be safely treated with pharmaceuticals. And I deeply appreciate that engineers responsible for building bridges and skyscrapers are required to base their calculations on proven formulas and equations.

 

Why ‘sons’ won’t do

The Ottawa Citizen, by Shari Graydon 6 March 2010

The Vancouver Olympic games did many things. They showcased the majestic beauty of British Columbia; they inspired us with spectacular athleticism; and they repeatedly underlined the boneheaded inappropriateness of one line of our national anthem.