Getting A Jump On The Season

19 04 2009

By Kara Bertrand
Photo Editor, Sweat Magazine
Spring 2009

A health and lifestyle article written for Sweat Magazine, the official magazine of the Ontario College’s Athletic Association (OCAA). The piece looked at the offseason behaviour of women’s softball players and how this might contribute to their success during the season.

Click here for a PDF of the article.

Bar-going women should put safety above pleasure

6 12 2008

Kara Bertrand
Life Editor, Humber Et Cetera
Published: November 13, 2008

They’re out every Friday and Saturday night, often at the same place in the hope of finally succeeding in their nightly mission. These women can’t be missed. They squeal, shout and embrace almost anyone in their presence. They’re far past the point of inebriation and seem to have lost all account of their actions. All it takes is one night – one moment – when one of these women can be the victim of sexual harassment, rape or worse yet, murder.

Women need to stop portraying themselves as prostitutes or lesbians to please or excite men and learn to control their alcohol intake. I feel guilty saying drunk rape victims are partly to blame for what happens to them, but there has to be a point when a woman puts her own safety before her physical pleasure.

Quite frankly, it’s a sad display to see a normally level-headed woman lose all control, and it happens every weekend. Some will dance on poles or make out with their girlfriends – all to impress whomever is watching them that night. I’m not sure when acting like a lesbian became the norm and it sort of bothers me. That lesbianism excites men baffles me in the first place, but that heterosexual women decide to succumb to this fantasy is even more obscene.

A study published in the December 2003 issue of the Journal of Interpersonal Violence suggested that women who engage in certain behaviour at certain bars are “more likely to experience bar-related aggression.” This behaviour might include alcohol consumption, leaving the bar with strangers and even non-verbal communication.

Research by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health showed women are more vulnerable to alcohol abuse than men, as women who are drinking have higher concentrations of alcohol in their blood. Consequently a woman ends up drunk faster then a man, often forgetting her inhibitions at the door.

Women need to be especially concerned of this since sexual assaults are on the rise. Toronto Police Service states that 895 sexual assaults were reported from January to August 2008, compared to a total of 944 in all of 2007. According to Stats Can, there were 546,000 sexual assaults in Canada in 2004, with young women between the ages of 15 and 24 being most at risk.

For women who think sexual assault is rare, think again. These statistics are based on only eight per cent of women – the rest are not reporting sexual assault incidents for reasons of fear or embarrassment.

Such statistics should be a rude awakening for women who frequent bars and parties. Women need to be more aware of how to prevent becoming a victim of a sexual assault. Common sense will say to keep your friends nearby, with having at least one sober; never leave your drink unattended; and watch your alcohol consumption. All these precautions will certainly make the next day easier to handle.

Twenty-first century women should be proud to be who they are before they set foot in the bar, without having to pretend to be something they’re not.

Uphill climb for female paramedics

4 12 2008

Kara Bertrand
Life Reporter, Humber Et Cetera
Published: February 6, 2008

Physical demands can be blamed for fewer women enrolling.
The strength requirements of the paramedic program are linked to the decrease in women successfully completing the course, said program co-ordinator Lynne Urszenyi.

“At the end of the day you can be a great paramedic, but if you can’t lift your patient into the ambulance to get them to the hospital, you’re of no use to the patient,” she said.

Urszenyi said the lift weight requirements were raised two years ago by nine kilograms to reflect the changing weight of the population.

“In the last two years, we’ve had more male students than female students,” she said. “For about eight years prior to that, it was exactly 50-50 split between men and women in the program.”

The paramedic program this term has 71 per cent men and 29 per cent women, said Patricia Van Horne, associate registrar of records.

Other programs are seeing the same imbalance between genders, which can often bring different perspectives into industries generally dominated by one particular sex.

The police foundations program at Lakeshore, has 73 per cent male enrollment, with only 27 per cent female enrollment.

“Historically, policing has been a male dominated industry,” said Arthur Lockhart, a teacher in the program. “But women are very powerful human beings and they bring great insight into the program.”

For all programs at the North, Lakeshore and Orangeville campuses combined, male enrollment is 48.9 per cent, and female enrollment is 50.6 per cent, said Van Horne.

Susan Roberton, co-ordinator of the fashion arts program, said females take leadership roles more than men in classes. The program has 94 per cent female enrollment.

“There are more of them,” she said. “The guys already stand out, so they tend not to be vocal. Most of the content relates more directly to women’s apparel.”

The admissions process and the subsequent hiring process of paramedic graduates do not discriminate based on gender, said Urszenyi.

“The employers don’t know for the first few phases if they’re men or women,” she said. “There certainly isn’t any type of quotas one way or another for men versus women.”

Students and profs learn matters of health

4 12 2008

Annual event examines environmental impact on women

Kara Bertrand
Life Reporter, Humber Et Cetera
Published: January 23, 2008

A professor in the business program at Guelph-Humber says students should take advantage of such events as last weekend’s Women’s Health Matters Forum and Expo at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

“It’s free education. You can go down and hear experts in their areas, especially if it’s in keeping with nursing students and people in personal training,” said Patricia Peel, who brought about 30 students from her fundraising and customer service class to volunteer and experience the event.

The forum, run by Women’s College Hospital, has been taking place for the past 12 years. It focuses on disease prevention, treatment and issues facing women.

It featured 150 exhibits from organizations at the forefront of women’s health, as well as 40 seminars by Canada’s leading health-care professionals and medical experts.

The theme this year was the environmental impact on women’s health.

“I think because the environment is on everyone’s mind this is appropriate to address,” said Jocelyn Palm, event co-ordinator. “With so much info out there, here are some people who can help sort it out.”

There were seminars on the Arctic, diabetes and the environmental links to cancer.

Peel said the hospital attaching its name to the event provides a legitimacy to what is presented.

“They’re really selective about who they let in as exhibitors,” she said. “If you’re an exhibitor in the show, Women’s College Hospital is endorsing your treatment, your service, your product, and they don’t want anything gimmicky, half-baked.”

Jackie Fraser, a clinical nursing professor at Humber, also brought eight students with her to the event and said the expo was engaging and informative.

“It is a good opportunity for them to be aware of other resources there and I find that by attending it they can transfer what they have learned there to different years of the program,” she said.

Cheryl Leblanc, 21, a first-year accounting student, agreed students can benefit from such educational health events.

“We’re not as educated on these things as we think we are,” she said. “If we can integrate some of these things into our daily lives, we could do better in school and be a lot happier.”