July 2011

CBC: The Wild Journey: The Anne Innis Story

My photo of giraffes I took on the way while driving from Nairobi to Dadaab Refugee camp.

A few nights ago as I was driving to buy some groceries, I turned on CBC Radio and stumbled on Ideas – an evening program with Paul Kennedy. I find most of the programming on Ideas very interesting, but this one surpassed all my expectations… “Wild Journey: The Anne Innis Story”. Maybe I was initially so interested because I just came back from Kenya where I volunteered at the Dadaab Refugee Camp. I also had an opportunity to observe giraffes in the wild there and the program told a story about Dr. Anne Innis (Anne Innis Dagg) , who was the first person to study giraffes in the wild. However, very soon I realized that the entire life of Anne Innis and her struggle to pursue her scientific interests while being a woman – was even more fascinating. I would love to recommend this program to anybody who thinks about women in science (or men for that matter as well). The story was so incredible. It allowed me to find out more about the giraffes and their behaviour, discover a very inspirational woman – Dr. Anne Innis herself, but also to hear first hand about the apartheid and how a Canadian young woman in her 20s visits South Africa (during the 50s) and realizes how black and white people are driven a world apart. We could feel it how stunned she was by what she saw. And yet Anne Dagg in the program drew the picture not as all black and white, but showed how the culture of a place can influence people… Now almost 60 years later, Anne Innis recalls it vividly and clearly. I just couldn’t get out of the car and didn’t get to buy groceries, as the store was closed when the program ended… And frankly, I didn’t care… I was so happy I had a chance to meet this wonderful and very inspirational woman, even if this meeting happened over the radio… THANK YOU IDEAS FOR THE WONDERFUL SHOW and I wish Dr. Anne Innis many-many healthy and productive years!
Professor Anne Innis Dagg has a Ph.D. in biology and teaches at the University of Waterloo. She is author of The Feminine Gaze and MisEducation: Women & Canadian Universities.

Interview excerpt with Anne Innis (from the following web site: :;wap2

I wanted desperately to become a professor because I loved teaching, but even after publishing many scientific papers and earning a doctorate, I wasn’t able to land a permanent job at a university. At the time many departments refused to hire women. In fact, at one local university, the dean of science told me he would never give a permanent job to a married woman–after all she had a husband to support her. This contempt for women enraged me. Universities were willing to train women for their doctorates but not willing to hire them. So for many years I became a feminist activist, working to force universities to hire on merit, not on sex. This destroyed my hope of finding a university job (who wants to employ a trouble-maker?) until at last I was hired by students of the Independent Studies program at the University of Waterloo as a resource person. I am currently a part-time academic advisor and teacher, even though I’m technically retired…

Books by Anne Innis:

PS: A month or so later after the show and after I posted my blog post, I was able to meet Dr. Anne Innis. CBC noticed my post and Dr. Innis somehow got to see it as well and she invited me to visit her while I was attending a conference in Ontario. It was a very serendipitous event. It was an unforgettable meeting and I am so honoured and grateful I was invited. I wish her all the best and I am grateful for this incredible opportunity.

1 Response to CBC: The Wild Journey: The Anne Innis Story

  1. Valerie Bauer

    I was fortunate enough to have listened to this interview with Anne Innis Dagg. Very well done, and it left me wanting more!I shall read Watching Giraffe, which is available on ebooks!

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