Gender in social innovation

tackling women's traditional roles
Changing our idea of the role of women

Last month, the Right Honourable Kim Campbell was presented with the EVE award which recognizes women for their significant achievements in politics. At the event, Campbell spoke of the necessity of women in politics but was mindful of the barriers in place that prevent this from happening. She recalled her political career and her rise to the most powerful and respected political position in Canada while acknowledging that it was not always easy.

We may want to believe we are gender neutral when it comes to getting the best person for the job but it’s not always the case.  The gender issue has always been contentious for professions that fall outside the stereotypical female roles, particularly when women are negotiating a space they traditionally haven’t occupied yet. SiG@MaRS works with many female social entrepreneurs who are creating a new path that benefits them and Canadian society. To celebrate them and the other “fearless women” who are making a difference, SiG@MaRS is holding an evening held at the Tarragon Theatre featuring Judith Thompson’s play, Body & Soul. At this event SiG@MaRS will be announcing the Ontario Trillium Foundation funding of the feasibility study for the School for Social Entrepreneurs, which will promote female entrepreneurs.

For the play, Body and Soul, Judith Thompson worked with a cast of 12 real Canadian women between the ages of 45 and 78. Body & Soul played to sold out houses and standing ovations for its entire run at the Young Centre in 2008. Now this play about the second half of a woman’s life is back and will be performed at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto from June 4th-21, 2009.

The play was developed through a unique partnership with Dove, as part of Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty”, and fueled by a desire to change the way society looks at aging. The production itself represents social entrepreneurship: from Dove, which took a deeply creative approach to corporate social responsibility; and from Judith Thompson – a theatre practitioner and academic, recognized for her artistic achievements – and as an artistic collaborator, who has used her talents to bring many social issues to life on the stage through her plays.