Why Don’t We Have More Women Leaders?

When Sheryl Sandberg spoke this summer at the Global Leadership Summit , she said that young girls who show leadership skills are called “bossy”. When she suggested that they be told they have “executive leadership skills” instead, the room exploded in laughter. When it died down, she asked if it was as funny when you substitute “boy” for “girl”. It wasn’t. That’s because, despite our striving for equality, women are still less likely to be leaders.

According to Sandberg, “If you look at the world, women do 66 percent of the work in the world. Woman produce 50 percent of the food. Women make 10 percent of the income and women own 1 percent of the property. We are 50 percent of the population. We are 5 percent of the Fortune 500 CEOs,” Sandberg said. “We are 17 percent of the board seats. We are 19 percent in Congress. That’s not enough for 50 percent of the population. We live in a world that is overwhelming run and owned by men.” http://abcn.ws/1g0oE7N

In her 2010 TED talk, Sandberg says that success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women, suggesting that women have to choose between their career and their friends, while men are expected to have both.

Four years later, she spoke again in an interview with Pat Mitchell. She talks about the challenges of being a woman in business, and about how the issues of gender are universal, about how women are asked “how they do it all” while men are expected to be able to handle both family and career. When asked if her message had changed in four years, she said the only thing she would change was to speak with a stronger voice.

To help women succeed in life, Sandberg, COO of Facebook, has started “Lean In”. The goal of this organization with is to help empower women and help them achieve their ambitions. They do this in three ways:

  1. Lean In Circles, which are small groups/circles that meet regularly for growth and encouragement. World-wide, there are more than 34 000 groups, and of these groups, more than 85% of the members report a positive change in their lives (https://leanin.org/about);
  2. An annual campaign, which highlights one of the topics that are crucial to women in the workplace. Check out their most recent campaign.  They also have a collected a gallery of images that show women as leaders and men as caregivers, in an effort to overturn gender stereotypes.
  3. An annual Women in the Workplace Study. “Women in the Workplace is a study of the state of women in corporate America conducted annually by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company to promote female leadership and foster gender diversity in the workplace. In 2017, 222 companies employing more than 12 million people participated, making it the most comprehensive annual review of its kind.” https://leanin.org/about

This Lean-In movement has reached across the world, with Lean-in Circles in more than 150 countries. The web site offers many resources as well. The Lean In Facebook page has more than 2 million followers. I would say that this is not going away anytime soon.

I’m sure there are arguments that can be made on the other side of this opinion as well. Do you think gender equality is important in our work places and our homes?


Why don’t women have more equality in the work place?  Check out what Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook has to say about that:  http://bit.ly/2y1ej1m



Check out what Sheryl Sandberg is talking about #Lean In, http://bit.ly/2y1ej1m



Has Facebook Changed the World?

In a car ride recently my daughter and I discussed how much our little town has changed over the years. She works with elderly people, some of whom have lived their entire lives in one small town. They often talk about the changes they’ve seen over the course of their lives. We have lived here for just over 20 years and agreed that the change that we’ve experienced in that time is huge.

One of the major changes is how we do life. When we first moved to a small town east of Toronto 22 years ago, Facebook was unheard of! Now it has changed our world in so many ways.

Did you know that there is an actual syndrome for those who experience depression after too much Facebook time? It’s called Facebook Depression Syndrome. “The latest issue of Pediatrics Journal warns that teens who spend significant amount of time on the social-networking site Facebook may suffer from a condition known as Facebook Depression Syndrome. With about 72% of teen (American teens) on FB, this is cause for potential concern and counseling. The problem, researchers found, was that the popular website’s constant feed of status, picture and message updates gave users a skewed view of reality, which could make vulnerable kids feel like they aren’t good enough.” http://www.talkafrique.com/issues/researchers-warn-of-facebook-depression-syndrome.



Facebook Depression Syndrome is not only for children and teens though. Recently I posted a picture of my husband trimming the vines on our house. It was spring, just after we’d planted our garden, and everything was lush and green and the picture looked beautiful. My sister, who lives in the desert, responded immediately with an envious comment. She wished she had a house like ours, a garden to tend and a beautiful house. What she didn’t see, because I chose not to post it, was the places where things are starting to fall apart. Our 70 year old house needs a lot of work and repair, but all she could see was that I had something she wanted, something that I have and she doesn’t.


On the other hand, I have had opportunity to reconnect with family members who live far away, and who I would never see in regular every-life. I’ve reconnected with cousins I hadn’t seen since I was a child and have been able to share memories of our grandparents. Friends who live far away are still able to share in joys and sorrows.

There are some startling claims made about Facebook in this  video.

The video makes some incredible claims, including the following:


· 1 in 7 people in the world are on facebook
· The average American spends 243 hours a year on Facebook
· Facebook is a factor in 1 in 3 divorces in the UK
· Un-friend is now a dictionary term, thanks to Facebook

That’s quite something, for something that was developed for a Harvard students as a “hot or not” internet game. It wasn’t until 2006 that Facebook became available to the general public! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Facebook)

What are some of the changes Facebook has made to the world? It’s changed our vocabulary, it’s changed the way we connect with people, it’s changed the way we live our life (243 hours is equal to ten full days. Many people spend a ten days a year on facebook!), it’s made connections with people who live far away a reality that regular mail could never do.

I don’t know if Facebook has made life better or not. What do you think? Has it improved your ability to stay in touch with others, or is it a way to waste time? Does it make you happy or sad to see what is going on in the lives of others?


Does Facebook make you happy?  Or does it cause depression?  Check out some incredible facts here: http://bit.ly/2gJBAKd


Facebook:  Depressing or exhilarating?  Check it out:  #facebook depression:  http://bit.ly/2gJBAKd



I Want to Pay More…Said No One Ever

The latest ads for No Frills claim that lowest price is the most important thing to consider when it comes to your grocery bill.


I may not have ever said I want to pay more, but I do know that there are times when I’m willing to pay more than the lowest price.   When I enter the doors of a dollar store, I look at all the merchandise and wonder what was sacrificed to allow them to offer items at such a low price.  Maybe quality?  Maybe labour costs?  It makes me uneasy to think that while I am saving a few dollars, it may mean that someone is unable to feed her children that night because of the low wages she receives, or that I may be adding something unsafe into my grandchildren’s environment because of the potentially toxic ingredients added to the toys that are sold there.  http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/advice/g1798/the-10-most-toxic-items-at-dollar-stores/?

Though it is not inexpensive, my preferred place to shop for household items, children’s books, toys and gifts is Ten Thousand Villages.

10 000 villages

If you walk into one of these amazing stores, your initial reaction might be sticker shock, but it so important to look deeper than just the price.  At a dollar store, I buy so many things that I don’t actually need that I end up wasting money.  At Ten Thousand Villages, I have to choose carefully because it costs more.  This means I value what I buy more, and tend to treat it more carefully so it will last longer.  An unusual idea in our throw-it-away-and-buy-a-new-one society, for sure!  But that’s just one reason to shop fair trade and there are so many more reasons. Here are a few: by shopping this way you invest in communities that are barely surviving by creating sustainable job opportunities, you give marginalized people an opportunity to provide for their families, you promote gender equality, safeguard against child labour, and you help reduce harmful environmental practises.  (quoted from https://www.tenthousandvillages.com/about-fair-trade/)

You don’t have to go to a specific store to buy Fair Trade products, though.  Increasingly, main stream stores are providing items that are labelled fair trade.  From coffee to cotton, you can find the fair trade label on just about anything.  Sometimes it costs a little more, but the cost of cheap items made by those who are unable to earn a living wage for their families is a far higher in the end. I love knowing that my hard-earned money can help people in developing countries around the world.

So the next time you pick up that package of cheap coffee, or the $2 t-shirt, take a moment and think about the real cost of producing that item – to our neighbours next door to us and around the world, to our earth, which is groaning under the pressure we are exerting, and to our children and grandchildren who will bear the burden of our legacy.   If you need a place to begin your fair trade journey, Ten Thousand Villages says: “If just 1 in 10 North Americans purchased only fair trade coffee, it would result in $4.7 billion to build strong, healthy communities in developing countries. And that’s just coffee. When you make fair trade purchases part of your life…imagine the impact!” https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/183169909819307244/

Is there one thing in your life that you can commit to purchasing fair trade?



Fair Trade is the way to go!  Find out why on my latest blog.  #FairTrade #Villages Canada


Help the world by buying Fair Trade coffee.  Check out why in my latest blog






Towards Reconciliation

Sitting Bull-Sioux Indian Chief-Custer

Picture courtesy of Free Archive of Native American Indian Pictures

The Love Affair Begins

When I was in high school I wrote a fictional story about Chief Sitting Bull.  To my surprise I discovered there really is a Chief Sitting Bull and he is famous for defeating General George Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn.  It was the beginning of a life long curiosity about North American First Nations People.

The Curiosity Grows

When our children were small, we used to go camping every summer at Bon Echo Provincial Park.  It is a beautiful place, and though the park provided some details about the history of the land, I wanted to know more.  A college history course seemed to be the next logical step and though it was interesting, I was always dissatisfied with the results.  It took many years to discover why.  Eventually I figured it out – the history “began” with colonization and there was no mention made of the people who lived there before the loggers and the farmers moved in.

Life Provides an Opportunity

The years continued on and then I was given the opportunity to host an art show entitled “The Creator’s Sacrifice” by Cree artist Ovide Bighetty.  The Creator’s Sacrifice tells the story of Jesus, in the Woodland style created by Norval Morriseau. This series of paintings travelled across the country of Canada from Nova Scotia to Vancouver Island.

the creators sacrifice

Painted by Ovid Bighetty for the Indian Metis Christian Fellowship.                   http://www.imcf.ca/the-creator-s-sacrifice.html

Hosting this art show led to the opportunity to attend a Truth and Reconciliation Hearing in Toronto.  This event broke my heart as I listened to the stories of abuse in the Residential Schools perpetrated on young children by people professing to be doing God’s will.  What further broke me was the grace and forgiveness displayed by those who suffered the abuse.  As I wept helplessly, I was approached several times and offered comfort and help.

Looking for What Comes Next

Recently while on a long road trip I listened to a CBC’s Ideas, Decolonization: The Next 150 on Indigenous Lands.  Keri Cheechoo, a Cree woman, and one of the people interviewed on this show suggested that the real issue behind the missing and murdered Indigenous women is colonialism, which was a new thought for me.  The lack of respect and the refusal to treat our First Nations people with dignity is not a history problem, it is still something we are working through today.  As I think about that, I wonder where all this passion and learning will take me.  Maybe it will forever be something that belongs to my private life and I will do what I can as a volunteer, or maybe it will lead somewhere completely new.

Do you have a passion in your life that might take you in new directions other than the one you are currently on?  Are you interested in seeing reconciliation between nations?  What do you think it will take to reconcile with our First Nation people?