Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Windsor
International Women’s Day Event
Monday, March 9, 2020 at 6:00-8:00 p.m. in Toldo Health Education Centre, room 203
Panel Discussion with Sharon Batt, Mercedes Buhagiar, and Jane McArthur
While most people in our region are very aware of breast cancer, often through their own experiences with the disease or the experiences of loved ones, many of us are uninformed about the causes that go beyond the individual person and even less conversant about influences that shape the breast cancer movement.
In this panel discussion we will learn how a young woman with breast cancer fell under the radar in a health system that operates based on statistics and how her engagement in breast cancer advocacy groups helped her cope with the disease; how the public has been continuously bombarded with messages from mainstream media, cancer agencies, and medical professionals that focus on individual lifestyle and genetic risk factors to the exclusion of causality and prevention; and how partnerships between advocacy groups and the pharmaceutical industry can affect the public discourse and undermine health policies meant to serve the public interest.
This event is free and open to the public.
Sharon Batt works at the intersection of activism, journalism and scholarship. After completing an MA in social psychology, she co-founded Canada’s first feminist magazine, Branching Out. A breast cancer diagnosis led her to focus her attention on the politics of cancer from a feminist patient’s perspective. Following a decade as a leader in Canada’s breast cancer movement, she returned to academia to study, teach and write about social movement politics. She completed doctoral studies at Dalhousie University where she is currently an adjunct professor in the departments of Bioethics and Political Science. Her 2017 book, Health Advocacy Inc., examines the coopting effect of corporate partnerships in Canada’s breast cancer movement.
Mercedes Buhagiar is a Social Worker living in Windsor, Ontario. She graduated from the Social Work and Women’s studies program through the University of Windsor and continued on to receive her Masters of Social Work in 2010. Since her diagnosis of stage 3 breast cancer in 2016, she has been a public advocate against breast cancer. She has worked with Rethink Breast Cancer and the Windsor Cancer Foundation to spread awareness and education for the cause.
Jane E. McArthur is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology/Social Justice at the University of Windsor. She combines her educational background in communications with her 25 years of working on issues of environmental and occupational health through community-based research, education and advocacy. Past research involvement includes the "Risk Exploration Project", “Living and Working in Essex and Kent Counties”, and "Lifetime Histories Breast Cancer Research Study", rooted in community-based health investigations with a view to prevention. Jane’s dissertation research examines how women who work in an environment with an identified risk of breast cancer construct understandings and narratives of their risks and how women perceive and exercise agency in the acceptance, avoidance or negotiation of those risks.