About the Book

On BC Ministry of Education "Recommended" list for their Grade 12 Social Justice course.

How many times in the past while has someone looked right through you?

This is one question asked in the book Policies of Exclusion, Poverty & Health: Stories from the front, which is the outcome of an intense study of 21 women living in poverty in one Canadian community.

The book includes the 21 stories, written in the women’s own words, plus two reports – also written in the first-person and so from the storytellers’ perspective. The first report draws out the dominant themes found in the stories. The second details the storytellers’ recommendations for positive change and offers encouragement and advice to other women in poverty to “mobilize, galvanize, and politicize.” Together, the stories and reports contain surprises that challenge long-held assumptions about Canada’s poor.

COMMENTS FROM READERS

  • On my way to work this morning, I tried to think of words to express simply the tumble of emotions, concerns, guilts, etc. that the stories evoked in me. And the admiration, the humility - for would I be so resourceful, so grittily determined if I had been faced with such adversity and stumbled, and stumbled, and stumbled? Before reading this, I would have said I grew up poor. But I don't know the meaning of the word! And then the hope and excitement expressed in phase two. This is a tremendously powerful work. All of those involved have created something that will affect every reader profoundly to the core. That's where the change will start. --Aly Stubbs, Executive Director, Vancouver Island Providence Community Association, Duncan BC, Canada.
  • The strength of this powerful book is that it is not "about" women in poverty. It's women speaking for themselves. Another thing the book does is give an insider's view of what it's like to deal with the various agencies and bureaucracies established to serve people in poverty. There are a few bright spots in the maze, but mostly it's a grim picture. The overall impression is of strength and gritty determination in spite of impossible situations - a testament to the human spirit. --Cathryn Wellner, Food & Health Project Manager, Interior Health Authority, Kelowna BC, Canada.
  • There is simply nothing that compares to the 'lived experience'... I am terribly impressed. --Sandi Pniauskas, cancer survivors/caregivers advocate, Whitby ON, Canada.
  • I read your book over the weekend and it moved me deeply... I wish I were still teaching sociology - I would assign this book. It tells women's stories in ways that no one can ignore and it drives home the major features of vulnerable women's lives. You have done the best kind of qualitative research. --May Partridge, Victoria BC, Canada.
  • I thought the book brilliant. The subject matter is not easy, but you must be so very proud. Thank you. --Lianne Fisher, Psychology, Brock University, St. Catharines ON, Canada.
  • Shows so clearly the connection between health and social and economic inclusion. --Monika Merkes, PhD, Senior Social Planning and Policy Officer, Darebin City Council, Australia.

It’s my plan to present the book in a series of 24 podcasts.

WISE beat the odds and had sold (out) its 1,000 copies over the course of 12 months. However, an electronic version is available in PDF format, suitable for desktop viewing and compatible with devices such as the Sony Reader. Click the button below to order this electronic version or contact me for more information.

Chrystal Ocean