On October 8, 2014 I was contacted by a recruiter who thinks I have what it takes to be Miss Canada Globe. She told me I was a "perfect fit" and I felt absolutely honoured that she thought so. As I daydreamed, I imagined myself in a beautiful gown, speaking about social matters that are important to me, and having my voice heard. I grew increasingly excited and thought it would be any woman's dream to win a pageant of this caliber; until I read the requirements.
I went down the list of requirements and nodded as I checked each item off.
- No criminal record- check.
- Between the ages of 13-29- check.
- Never married, never pregnant, no children- check. - Wait, what?
Until I was asked to be in this competition, I had never looked into what it took to become this well-recognized role model for women.
While doing my research I came across this claim of Miss Canada's history and concept:
Let's reflect on this claim and refer back to the requirements to be a contestant. They claim that they "provide equal opportunity for all", yet based on their requirements, 33% of all woman are immediately exempt based on the fact that they require women to have never been pregnant.
We advocate for women being the experts of their own body, and I would like to take this opportunity to direct you to this article which explains that more women than you'd assume, have had an abortion before. These women are not allowed to apply.
Let's break down how fair and how equal of an opportunity this is for women:
- 50.4% of the population in Canada is women. (Refer to this link for statistics)
- 23.6% of women in Canada are between the ages of 15-34 (this example even exceeds the age requirements, meaning the final percentage of women who meet requirements would be even less)
- Based on the above statistics, and excluding those who have had an abortion, this leaves 15.6% of women still eligible.
Of that 15.6%, I cannot say how many women have ever been married, or are pregnant, or have children, but the percentage only gets smaller.
Miss Canada Globe, Tell me again how you make this contest an equal opportunity to all...?
Upon learning all of this, I decided it is not right for me to stand for all women as a role model, when ALL women are not given the same opportunity. Miss Canada Globe's requirements basically say that you cannot be a role model for young women if you are a mother, have ever been faced with a hard decision on whether or not you should bring a baby into this world, or are in a marriage (however healthy it may be!). These are all matters I believe strongly in having a choice regarding, and it takes a strong human being to make these choices.
The women who are exempt are likely the women who SHOULD be role models to women of all ages. They have at least a little real life experience.
Please share this with your friends and family if you agree with my stand on not standing up for the Miss Canada Globe 2015 pageant!