Canadian Pulse

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Doula Conference

Doulas of North America (DONA) is having their annual conference in Toronto this year. They also plan to have doula training and doula teacher training before and after the conference. The organization, founded in 1992, invites doulas, childbirth educators, nurses, midwives, physicians and others with an interest in birth to attend.

Doula Training Workshop: August 3-5, 1999 in Toronto.

Doulas of North America Annual International Conference: August 5-8, 1999 at the Sheraton Centre Hotel, Toronto (Early Bird Registration $290).

Doula Teacher Training: August 8-9, 1999.

For information or to register, contact:

Jennifer Nunn
Doulas of North America (DONA)
Tel: (206) 324-5440

FAFIA Hits the Ground Running - Beijing +5 Alliance Formed

Over 35 Canadian women's organizations have formed a new alliance.

The Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) will assist Canadian women's organizations to intervene strategically in international arenas to improve the economic conditions of Canadian women.

"This is an important new development in the women's movement in Canada," said Lise Martin, Executive Director of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women. "Its formation marks a new stage in Canadian women's political activism, because of the Alliance's specific focus on economic policy and its impact on women's equality and because of the determination to defend women's rights at the international level as well as at home."

"FAFIA's first major task will be to evaluate Canada's progress in implementing the Platform for Action, which was adopted by governments in Beijing in 1995," said Charlotte Thibault, spokesperson for the Comité Québécois de suivis de Beijing, and member of the FAFIA steering committee.

The Adventures of Condomania

This may be stretching the limits of women's health here, but it is definitely worth noting this hip campaign targeted at early-teenaged boys. To encourage sexually active boys to wear condoms, the Vancouver/Richmond Health Board uses a role-playing game on their web site (, and small packages of condoms and lube wrapped in a cartoon featuring super-hero "Condom-Man". They also have a cute sticker with the slogan: "Wrap It On."

Sorry, no orders.

For further information, contact:
Vancouver/Richmond Health Board
2052-655 West 12th Avenue
Vancouver BC V5Z 4R4 Canada
Tel: (604) 775-1866
Fax: (604) 775-1804

Made to Measure

Made to Measure: Assessing Approaches to Eliminate Gender Inequity is an international symposium to promote women's full participation in Canadian society through enhancing the skills and knowledge required to make gender equity-based policies, programs and tools mainstream. Hosted by the Maritime Centre of Excellence for Women's Health, the event is open to diverse groups working in public policy and programming, and includes community-based organizations, women's groups, service providers, community and academic researchers, community and civil leaders and other public policy-makers.

For more information, contact:

Nadia Stuewer
Maritime Centre of Excellence for Women's Health
IWK Grace Health Centre
Box 3070
Halifax NS B3J 3G9 Canada
Tel: (902) 428-2775
Toll free (Atlantic): 1-888-658-1112

Biotech Backlash in Europe

Opposition to genetically modified (GM) foods has recently exploded in Europe and Asia.

A powerful backlash from consumers and farmers in Europe and the Indian subcontinent saw the seven largest grocery chains in six European countries publically commit to not selling GM foods. Meanwhile the Indian Supreme court upheld a ban on the testing of GM crops, while activists torched fields suspected of holding GM plants.

In Europe the opposition appears to be related to older people's memory of Nazi eugenics experiments, making genetic manipulation of living organisms to produce "super organisms" suspect, reported Rachel's Environment and Health Weekly. Add the recent "Mad Cow Disease" scare to the mixture and GM foods are a tough sell.

Source: Rachel's Environment and Health Weekly

RQASF A First Forum

A warm, friendly atmosphere set the stage for a gathering of more than one hundred women bound by a common interest who came together to ponder women's health issues. Last November 21 and 22, the Hôtel de l'Institut du Tourisme et de l'Hìtellerie du Québec in Montreal hosted the first Women's Health Forum organized by the Réseau québécois d'action pour la santé des femmes (RQASF).

Representing all social and professional circles, the participants spoke on behalf of a large number of women across Quebec: national, regional and local women's groups, the health and social services network, government bodies, alternative medicine practitioners, researchers and the educational milieu.

A public statement issued by the Réseau québécois d'action pour la santé des femmes was part of the consultation process launched last year to have women's rights and distinctiveness in health matters recognized. Presented at the end of the Forum, the statement was distributed to the media and political parties during the election campaign. This action constituted yet another step in a lengthy process that will culminate this spring with the presentation of the first Women's Health Framework in Quebec.

By Arielle Cassini