Photos of Roxana

We’ve created a photo album on our Facebook page for Roxana; please feel free to contribute any photos you have of her by emailing 

Below is a small sample.


At the CWSE’s Dame Nita Barrow lecture with Shanthi Dairiam, February 2011.




Outside of parliament in Ottawa, during a protest march for missing and murdered aboriginal women, July 2011.


With student Valerie on Toronto Island for a faculty retirement party, summer 2012.


With Vandana Shiva, Alda Facio, and Diane Longboat after the CWSE’s November 12th 2012 event with Vandana Shiva.


At the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa, for the opening of Women’s Worlds in July 2011.


With OISE’s Dean at the CWSE’s Women’s Human Rights Education Institute, June 2012.

25th Anniversary of Reproductive Freedom in Canada

Today is the 25th anniversary of the Morgentaler decision, when the Supreme Court gave Canadian women reproductive freedom.

Judy Rebick has written an excellent narrative of the day they received the news of the Supreme Court decision;

This website has been set up to collect information and notes about the day,

and detailed information about the history of the pro-choice movement in Canada by Joyce Arthur here.

Roxana’s Memorial Tree

We’re maintaining our memorial space at the CWSE for Roxana Ng for a while still. If you wish, you can come by the CWSE and add words of love to our small tree in her honour.
We’re officially open Monday-Thursday, 12:30-2:30, but you can try outside those times as well; there’s usually someone at the CWSE.

Events Resume at CWSE

We are slowly picking up the pieces at the CWSE, and will begin running events again.

This Thursday, January 24 we’re co-sponsoring Social Enterprises, Culinary Ethnicism, and Multicultural Community” with the Social Economy Centre. 12pm, room 2-227, OISE. Details here.

Jamie Magnusson is facilitating Qigong Self-Defense Classes for the LGBT community, starting this January 26. Details here.

The next meeting of our Feminist Media Studies Circle takes place Monday, January 28, 12-1:30pm at the CWSE. Facebook event page here.

Our screening of Toxic Trespass has been rescheduled for January 29, 12-1:30pm, room 2-227, OISE. Details here.

A further memorial for Roxana Ng will take place January 30, 2-4pm, Peace Lounge, 7th floor OISE. Details here.

Dear CWSE Community,

It is with great sadness that we write to let you know that after a short battle with cancer, Roxana Ng, head of the CWSE and faculty member in the Adult Education and Community Development department at OISE, passed away last night, surrounded by friends and family.

The CWSE will hold open community space all this week for everyone who wishes to join us in remembering and mourning Roxana. The CWSE will be open Monday to Thursday, 12-5pm each day (room 2-225, OISE building).

We will have photos of Roxana, tea and snacks, and a tree to decorate with words of remembrance and love for Roxana.  It will be a co-creative space and we welcome your input and creativity; if there is a way in which you wish to remember Roxana, or you simply need quiet space to grieve, please email us at or   Helping hands are always appreciated, and we look forward to remembering Roxana in community.

The funeral will take place this Saturday, January 19, from 2-5pm, at the Newediuk Funeral Home, 2058 Kipling Avenue, Toronto, M9W 4J9.  There is a tribute page for Roxana with details of the service and the opportunity to donate to a charity of your choice in Roxana’s name.

Roxana requested that donations be made to InterPares in lieu of flowers ( 

The obituary will appear Wednesday, January 16 in both the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star

A memorial of Roxana’s life and work will take place on May 28, 5-8pm, at the OISE library, main floor, 252 Bloor St W.  Further details TBA.

We are also requesting photographs, stories, and words of tribute for a website that will be constructed in honour of Roxana and her work.  If you wish to contribute, please email your photos and stories to or

Finally, Roxana was honoured January 15 in a motion at Toronto City Council.  Thank you to Councillors Krystin Wong-Tam and Pam McConnell for this condolence motion.  The motion can be read here.

Jamie Ryckman, Angela Lytle, and Jamie Magnusson

Gender Toilet Wars

Paula Bourne is a Senior Associate Scholar at the CWSE, former Coordinator of the CWSE, and retired OISE professor. We asked her to share stories of earlier days at the CWSE, and she told us the following “Gender Toilet Wars” story.


Gender  Toilet  Wars

You have may have noticed that the location of the women and men’s toilets on the 2nd floor of the OISE building are the reverse of most other floors within OISE. Behind this ‘switch’ is a true story of CWSE activism.

After the merger of OISE with the University of Toronto in 1996, the CWSE moved from the 11th to the 2nd floor where we quickly discovered a totally inequitable situation with respect to the toilets: on this floor men were provided with 6 stalls plus a urinal and 6 wash basins, women with 3 stalls and washbasins. What rationale lay behind this allocation we wondered?

A little sleuthing uncovered some interesting facts about the building’s design back in the late 1960s. At that time it was assumed that the vast majority of students would be male and, as the 2nd floor was to be primarily classroom space, males would require more toilet space. By contrast, all other floors, from 3 up, allocated more toilets to women. These  floors housed the various academic departments and senior administrative units. The configuration in favour of women was certainly not because it was expected that female academics and administrators would vastly outnumber males, but rather because it was assumed, and rightly so, that the support staff on all of these floor would be overwhelmingly female!

The merger not only brought CWSE down to the 2nd floor but also brought a large number of B.Ed. students , approximately 90% of whom were female, to the classrooms on this floor. It didn’t take long for CWSE staff to realise the consequences as the queues outside of the women’s toilets became intolerably long. We pointed out the inequity to the senior administration but quickly realised that gentle persuasion was not going to get us anywhere. We raised the issue at meetings but still lacked any response.

Frustrated by the lack of action and the general attitude that we were simply a bunch of  ‘complaining feminists’, the decision was made to ‘up the ante.’ With hand-made signs, we reversed the names outside the toilets so the men’s became the women’s and vice-versa. The result was very happy women and very confused men! The senior administration was informed of our action and shortly thereafter we were informed that a swap of the men’s and women’s toilets on the 2nd floor had been approved by OISE and the University of Toronto.

Still, to this day, however, you may notice a shocked look on some male faces as they automatically enter the women’s washrooms on the 2nd floor assuming that their location is the same as it is on other OISE floors.

— Paula Bourne