This module will focus on traditional media, specifically op-eds and television interviews, as ways to raise awareness and promote feminist law reform issues.
Traditional media remain an important and trusted source of information, especially for lawmakers. In addition, with the move of traditional media to online platforms, there is arguably more space to discuss issues that are not yet mainstream.
Raising awareness and gathering public support is a central aspect of advancing feminist law reform. When members of the public begin to pay attention and care about an issue, pressure mounts on lawmakers to start looking for solutions. Unfortunately, feminist perspectives and women’s equality are often absent from political debates on many important issues. Making effective use of the media is an essential avenue for addressing that problem.
This module includes detailed instructions on writing your own op-ed as well as useful tips for doing television interviews. By the end, you should be fully equipped to use traditional media to advance feminist law reform.
"You probably know more than you realize, and can credibly speak about more than you think."
Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
What is an op ed?
An op ed — an abbreviation of “opposite the editorial” — is a short, accessible, persuasive commentary on a timely and important issue, by someone who has an informed opinion.
Op eds provide a valuable opportunity to add a feminist perspective to the conversation about an issue, especially when this perspective is being neglected or even negated in the public sphere.
Shari Graydon of Informed Opinions on writing an op ed
Readings from Informed Opinions on writing an op ed
Op Ed Elements
Turning Media Requests into Opportunities
Building Relationships with Reporters and Columnists
Op-eds written by Feminist Law Reform 101 students
You support pay equity? Tell me how much you make
One topic we never discuss with each other is our salaries. A colleague can ask if you go to church, but not how much you make. That’s a problem because we can’t know how much we should fairly be paid if we never talk about it.
Parental sponsorship rules are antifeminist
Can you imagine being required to show proof of income of $39,000 a year for three years just to be able to have your parents close by? That’s about how much new Canadians must show to be reunited with parents through Canada’s parental sponsorship program.
The deportation of Lucy Granados shows how hollow government 'compassion' is
On Friday morning, Canada deported Lucy Granados, a single mother who has lived in Montreal for nine years. She was deported because, although her immigration application was pending, she was “undocumented” in Canada (that is, living here without immigration status).
Gun violence is more than just a gang problem
When a man gets shot in a neighbourhood, we talk about guns and gangs. When a partner shoots and kills his wife and children, we talk about domestic violence. When a person shoots multiple people in a private or public setting, we talk about mental health. When children are victims of shootings in a school, we talk about how different our gun laws are from the United States. The truth is that these issues are all related to gun violence in Canada, and it’s time we stopped limiting the conversation of gun crimes in Canada to gangs and at-risk youth.
Television interviews are a great way to establish yourself or your organization as an expert in feminist questions. The more interviews you do, the more the media will seek out knowledge and expertise for their reporting. This section will provide useful information and tips about the unique ways television journalists do their work.
Engage & Discuss
Are there current women’s equality issues on which you would like to see more media coverage? Give an example of one of these issues and brainstorm how you might attract or increase media coverage of this issue from a feminist perspective.
Write an email to a journalist that has recently written on an equality law matter of interest to you, letting them know whether you appreciated their coverage of that issue, or not, and why.
Come up with a thesis statement for a feminist law reform issue you would like to write an Op-Ed about. Test the clarity of the statement in small groups and then anticipate the best argument that may be advanced against your position. In small groups, assist each other in crafting “to-be-sure” statements to respond to these contrary arguments.
Write an op-ed, of a maximum 600 words in length, on a feminist law reform issue of your choosing.
Resilience Is Futile: The Life and Death and Life of Julie Lalonde
For over a decade Julie Lalonde kept a secret. As an award-winning advocate for women’s rights, she criss-crossed the country, denouncing violence against women and giving hundreds of media interviews along the way. Her work made national headlines for challenging universities and taking on Canada’s top military brass. But while appearing fearless on the surface, Julie met every interview and event with the same fear in her gut: was he here?
Unfounded: Why police dismiss 1 in 5 sexual assault claims as baseless
In a 20-month-long investigation into how police handle sexual assault allegations, The Globe and Mail gathered data from more than 870 police forces. The findings expose deep flaws at every step of the process.
Gender Gap Tracker
This tool measures the ratio of female to male sources quoted in online news coverage across some of Canada's most influential national news media. By default, the graphs display the most recent week of data, but with a 3-day delay.