Compensation internships: a student strike at the female face

Photo: Catherine Legault Duty
During a workshop with Valérie Simard (right), student and trainee in education and an activist of the Committee unit the student work of the UQAM, the Coffee unloved from the University of montreal.

Friday, world Day of training, they were 15 000 students across the province to be in a strike to demand a compensation for all the courses. Led by students in education, social work or nursing, this new uprising critical distribution is considered unequal resources in the different areas of education.

Arlette Thevenot is a nurse for the past two years. The mother of three children 13, 10 and 8 years old, she has just completed this spring its DEC-Bac in nursing, after which she had to carry out a training course of 28 days, spread out over 6 weeks. The tasks performed during the internship, unpaid, were substantially the same as those of her shifts as a nurse. “With the work and the internship, the work to be done to the course, it was easily 60 hours of my week, and this is without taking care of my family,” recalls the go-getter 37-year-old who has chosen to continue his studies by entering the master of science in nursing.

 

To add to the absurd of the situation, Ms. Thévenot has performed her internship at the hospital that employs him already as a nurse. In his speech, a question often comes up : “Why my internship is not paid, while internships [residences] apprentice doctors are ? “

 

It is a question of the value of certain fields compared to others, meet the activists of the Coalition montreal for the remuneration of the internship, driven in part by the CUTE (Committees unit on the student work). The main claim of these groups, beyond the internship, is the remuneration of all students. And this valuation, argue the activists, which is based on a hierarchy gendered work areas.

We also see that occupations with “high social value”, as in medicine, law, engineering, and I don’t want too point the finger at these people because I know that they also have their problems of internal dynamics, […] are more valued and that the courses come with better conditions
Antoine Côté, spokesperson CHALKS and second-year student in the bachelor of teaching of French at the University of Montreal

“We, the question we’re asking, this is why internships in fields such as engineering or medicine are to be paid, while those in the field of “care” [in education, in communication, in social work] are not, ” explains Sandrine Belley, a spokesman for the Coalition for the working student and a member of the CUTE-UQAM. The student in the bachelor of social work, advance a draft response : the traditionally female jobs are seen as a gift of self, made by goodness of heart or for the love of the other. “It’s still working ! “It is to be noted that the doctoral students in medicine, however, must complete a clerkship of two years without compensation.

 

Inspired by the strike of doctoral students in psychology, who have won their case last year after a long battle with the government to pay a compulsory internship of 1600 hours, the student associations had already held a day-long strike on courses and internships in February, to attract the attention of the authorities the precarious situation of the trainees. This fall, the movement wants to be international, with echoes in the United States and Mexico.

 

Feminist analysis

 

For Valérie Simard, a student in 4th year of a bachelor in education with specialization in special education, and an activist of the campaign, the claim around internships is different from mobilizations students in recent years. “The movement is mostly female this time, said Ms. Simard, who will have to do an internship of 57 days from January in a rehabilitation centre. It is a feminist analysis on the operation that is being proposed. “

 

In education, the applications for compensation of trainees do not date from yesterday. The Campaign claims and actions inter-university for students and education students in internship (CHALK) is active for the past three years to ask for financial compensation for the fourth stage of the bachelor’s degree in education, which is a full course load for approximately three months.


Photo: Catherine Legault Duty
In education, the applications for compensation of trainees do not date from yesterday.

According to his spokesman, Antoine Side, second-year student in the bachelor of teaching of French at the University of Montreal, the discourse advocated by its grouping could benefit these days from a good momentum. “In October, we launched a plan of concerted actions with other groups,” said the young man.

 

It is clear to him that certain areas, such as education, suffer from a disengagement from the part of the State. “There are two observations that are very easy to establish : the trainees who have the best conditions are in the traditionally male sectors, and in general in the private sphere. We also see that occupations with “high social value”, as in medicine, law, engineering, and I don’t want too point the finger at these people because I know that they also have their problems of internal dynamics, but it is clear that these sectors are more valued and that the courses come with better conditions. “

 

It is, therefore, a revaluation of certain sectors, believes Mr. Side, that need to be initiated. “Our students deserve better, our teachers deserve better ! “

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