Ultra Vires


Great Calves for a Great Cause

Walk a Day in Her Shoes
It’s unclear who is pulling those shoes off better

I’m an idiot.  For any who have had a conservation with me about any substantive legal material this statement is evident.  However, the current reference to my idiocy is in regards to my knowledge of women.  Let me preface this by saying that I have an arsenal of excuses, including, but not limited to;

  1. I’m the middle of three boys.
  2. I went to a single sex high school.
  3. I may sometimes call a woman “dude.”
  4. I did not enter my first substantial relationship until well into my twenties.

Perhaps the latter two are more effect, than cause, but needless to say the ‘XX’ chromosome is foreign to me.  This was clearly demonstrated back in September.  One lunch Michelle, the co-organizer of Walk a Day, just came back from an interview and mentioned that her feet hurt from having to walk around in high heels.  Being the knuckle dragging Neanderthal that I am, I said something to the effect of ‘stop complaining’ (my words were more polite, but still equally as stupid)[1].  This off handed moronic comment of mine[2] led to a bet between the two of us that I could not walk an entire academic day in high heels without ever once taking them off (stakes were a round at the next pub night).

We began discussing this bet to classmates who liked the idea.  This quickly snowballed into the idea for Walk a Day in Her Shoes.  We unfortunately found out that we were paralleling an international fundraiser called Walk a Mile, where men literally walk a mile in women’s shoes.  We got in contact with the White Ribbon Campaign who organize the event and received instant enthusiasm from them (information about White Ribbon below).  Coincidentally, at around the same time a classmate informed us of her work at the Barbra Schlifer Clinic, a legal clinic that provides legal representation, counselling and language interpretation in over 80 languages to women who are trying to build lives free from violence.

Appreciating that some serious arm twisting would be required to make male members of the faculty want to walk in heels for a day; we realized we needed to recruit some high profile figures.  Our first two targets, Professors Chapman and Alarie required little persuasion (the latter actually tracked down a pair of high heels within ten minutes of Michelle and me leaving his office).

By the time March 8th, had come and passed, we had 45 participants who all shared one common sentiment… spending a day in high heel shoes is painful.  Dear god!  How on earth can anyone walk around in high heels day in/day out?  The only answer I got to this question is that “you learn to tolerate the pain?”  Really?  That’s it?

Despite the pain, when all was said and done the team was able to garner support from over 250 sponsors, raising more than $6,500.

Michelle and I had a ton of fun building this fundraiser from our initial bet (which I won!) and were both overwhelmed by the universal enthusiasm.  Thanks to Dave Bach, who helped us build the event, Peter Flynn for being our top fundraiser (collecting over $900) and all those students, staff and faculty who made this an incredible first go of what will hopefully become an annual event.

The White Ribbon Campaign

The White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) is the largest effort in the world of men working to end violence against women.  It started in Toronto Canada and is now in over sixty countries, where campaigns are led by both men and women, with a focus on raising awareness and educating men and boys on gender equity, respect and healthy relationships.

White Ribbon Campaign is the only national organization working on the prevention of violence against women by positively engaging young men and boys, educators, parents and communities on the role and responsibility they can play.

WRC has a specific focus on investing in youth and harnessing the positive roles that parents, coaches, educators and community leaders play in promoting gender equality, respect, and healthy relationships.   WRC’s grass roots approach inspires individuals and communities to action, while supporting them with the necessary outreach tools.

White Ribbon Campaign receives no core funding from any level of government.  It relies solely on individual and corporate fundraising along with special events like Walk A Day in Her Shoes to fund its work.


[1] I’ve already conceded that I’m an idiot… move on.

[2] Ibid.

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