Recognizing that one size does NOT fit all
With a $16,343 presented by RDDCF through the Fund for Gender Equality, Olds College can ensure everyone feels as though they ‘fit’
The Olds College has developed a customized gender equity initiative to address inequity in leadership development, sport, and physical activity for women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender- diverse individuals at Olds College and the surrounding community. The College says these are necessary steps to lead by example in implementing training, education, and awareness around diversity and inclusion.
“At Olds College students have the opportunity to engage in a diverse range of programs with unique facilities to accommodate their hands-on learning,” Sandra Griffin, Manager, Student Health & Wellness said. “As spaces are developed and/or renovated there are opportunities to consider the needs of these young adults who are not only seeking to find the education and career most suited to them, but they are often also seeking to figure out their own identities.”
The grant of $16,343 will be used in three specific areas to provide a full range of opportunities and benefits in sport and physical activity, beginning with providing college staff and students with Gender Equity Training. The training is anticipated to bring a gender equity lens to decision-making and will help create a platform to educate, inspire and bring attention to the realities for women, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse individuals – not only in sport, but also in the challenges they face at the college and in the community.
The College also plans to utilize the grant to create signage for the College’s newly renovated gender-inclusive washrooms.
“If washrooms are labelled ‘men’s’ or ‘ladies’, then an individual must make a conscious decision, evident to others, about which door they enter when they may be undecided at this point in their life – or their appearance may not reflect the choice they make,” Griffin said. “This can open them up to judgement from others, uncertainty and insecurity for themselves and adds to the stress of an already challenging time.”
According to the college, gender-inclusive washrooms and signage are an example of the College’s commitment to providing safer and more inclusive spaces for the LGTBQI2S community.
The college will also be purchasing customized fitness equipment for females in the High-Performance Centre. Utilized by College varsity teams and community members, all equipment presently within the Centre are designed for men. An example of this are the Olympic lifting bars currently in the Centre, which are designed for men – or people with larger hands for grip. Having access to the smaller grip Olympic bars will allow women the opportunity to train to their full potential without risk of injury or damaging equipment, increase accessibility and training more comfortable and enjoyable for female students, staff and community members.
“At Olds College, our goal is to foster an environment of mutual respect and trust among all learners. It is both our desire and responsibly to support Indigenous, Women, Two-Spirit and gender diverse students in an honest, respectful and welcoming manner as they pursue their studies at Olds College.”