We need skilled footwork around religious freedom, gender equity: Sheema Khan

Further to my earlier post (Girl players leave high school soccer game after complaints from Muslim boys’ team), Sheema Khan on religious reasonable accommodation. A somewhat meandering piece, and her conclusion, in calling for “wisdom and aplomb” is harder in practice than in theory. But nevertheless to be aimed for:

In 2007, a Montreal synagogue paid for a neighbouring YMCA to replace its windows with frosted glass, so that the synagogue’s male students would not be distracted by spandex-clad women exercising next door. Once YMCA members found out, a protest ensued, adding fuel to a fiery Quebec debate about religious accommodation that continues unabated to this day.

In the soccer case, teams should abide by ROPSSAA regulations, or forfeit a match from the outset when gender equity is an issue. Teams must accept the forfeit, rather than maximize goal output at the expense of female teammates.

There will probably be further collisions between religious freedom and gender equity. Each should be handled on a case-by-case basis, guided by Charter principles, with wisdom and aplomb, without recourse to incendiary language or political demagoguery.

We need skilled footwork around religious freedom, gender equity – The Globe and Mail.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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