McGill students give back on International Women’s Day – Montreal

In recognition of International Women’s Day, one department at McGill University has decided to show its appreciation to a group of pandemic health-care workers, the majority of whom are women.

The university’s School of Human Nutrition made and delivered 600 meals for workers at COVID-19 screening and testing sites in Montreal’s West Island. Each bag contains meals for four people.

“I have seen the hard work of all of them, how invested these people are,” said Paul-Guy Duhamel, a food services management course instructor.

Duhamel, who also works at one of the clinics, doesn’t think health-care workers get enough credit for what they do in the pandemic.

“If we’re walking out of it now,” he said. “It’s because we had these brave people, most of them women.”

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Claudette Massé, a retired nurse who decided to help out at the vaccination clinic at the Dollard-St-Laurent Sports Centre in the borough of LaSalle, was thrilled with the gesture.

“I think it’s nice,” she smiled. “It’s a nice gesture to see that people do think about us.”

Robbin Simmons, who has been a nurse for more than 30 years and works as a vaccinator at the same clinic, said she was also very grateful for the meals.

“It means I won’t have to cook supper,” she laughed.

But she thinks the fact that most of the workers in the clinics and in certain health-care sectors are women is a problem. The veteran nurse noted that in health care, women end up doing the jobs that she said are hard and undervalued by authorities.

“I look at the many people that are working as PABs (préposé aux bénéficiaires),” she told Global News. “The living that they make is very meagre.”

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International Women’s Day 2022

International Women’s Day 2022

The former nursing educator also pointed out that nursing is also hard and undervalued by governments, even if nurses make a better living than PABs.

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Massé said she also saw more women among her nursing colleagues when she worked as a nurse.

“Oh, there was quite a bit,” she recalls. “There was at least 85 per cent women.”

According to the Canadian Nurses Association, 91 per cent of nurses in Canada in 2019 were women.

Simmons believes the reason more men don’t get into these jobs is that they don’t see the financial incentive, and says it’s unfortunate that there is still a need to have a day to recognize women.

“We don’t have to have a day to recognize men,” she said, “but yet we have to have a day to recognize women. Why is that?”

She believes if women were treated equally there’d be no need for such a day.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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