News  SSMU workshop examines impacts of tuition hikes on women

Study from Concordia’s Simone de Beauvoir Institute central to debate

This Tuesday, SSMU and Concordia’s Simone de Beauvoir Institute held a workshop in the SSMU Breakout Room to examine the disproportionate impact of tuition fees on women.

Viviane Namaste, an associate professor in Concordia’s Simone de Beauvoir Institute – the Women’s Studies College of Concordia – and Gabrielle Bouchard, VP External for Concordia’s Women’s Studies Student Association (WSSA), hosted the workshop on tuition increases and their impact on women.

Namaste and Bouchard shared four points from a recently published study by the Institute that argued the tuition hikes would have a more significant impact on women and marginalized people.

The statement was written collectively by part-time and full-time faculty members at the Institute, and used feminist analysis to study what the tuition hikes in Quebec would mean for women.

Namaste said the Institute “looked at the scientific literature that exists about the impacts of tuition fees and accessible education in general, and then [specifically analyzed] how they relate to women.”

While explaining that the tuition hikes would decrease diversity at schools, Namaste said that, “As a feminist, I say that having diversity is central to create a context of learning.”

“Given that diversity is so essential, [the Institute] thinks that the social policy in Quebec needs to favor the involvement of women of different backgrounds in post-secondary educational institutions,” she added.

The workshop was followed by a one-hour discussion, in which McGill and Concordia students shared their thoughts on the tuition hikes, as well as their opinions about the unlimited strike at Concordia.

Daniel Kanda, SSMU political campaigns coordinator, explained the significance of this workshop. “[SSMU] has an accessible education mandate,” he said. “It is important to align ourselves with students across Quebec who are opposing the tuition hike.”

“Looking at the tuition hikes means we will have to look at all of its impacts. One of the impacts is the way that the tuition hikes affect women,” he continued.

The WSSA was the first Anglophone student association to vote to join the strike. It has been on strike for three weeks.