Women want more pockets. Here’s a history of why we don’t have a lot of them in our clothing

1. Warning of ‘refugee camps’ for unhoused people if province lifts rent cap

A shot looking into the walkway that runs through Meagher Park. Tents surround it and two wooden emergency shelters stand in the background.
Tents fill most of Nick Meagher Park in 2021. The site was informally renamed “People’s Park” by volunteers and residents. Credit: Leslie Amminson

“If the provincial government lifts its rent cap without doing anything else, Halifax will “have to figure out how refugee camps work,” reports Zane Woodford.

That’s according to Max Chauvin, director of housing and homelessness at HRM. In a new report, Chauvin estimated 500 to 1,000 people will become homeless if the 2% rent cap comes off as planned at the end of 2023.

The estimate is based on numbers from non-profits, Statistics Canada, and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation around the number of people precariously housed, Chauvin said.

Coun. Kathryn Morse asked Chauvin how HRM would respond to that sort of increase in the unhoused population.

“If we choose to do nothing and simply evict people, we’re going to have to find a way to shelter 1,000 people,” Chauvin told council on Tuesday.

“Excuse me for the term, but we’ll have to learn how refugee camps work. Because those are going to be seniors. Those are going to be families with children. We’re going to need to figure out daycare. We’re going to need to figure out schools. All of that is coming if there isn’t something different.”

Click here to read “Halifax housing manager warns of ‘refugee camps’ for unhoused people if N.S. lifts rent cap.”

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2. Short-term rentals

The airbnb logo with a little red house and lowercase letters, is seen on a sign posted on a brick building.
AirBnB is the most popular short-term rental platform in HRM. Credit: flickr/opengridscheduler

“Council has approved new regulations for short-term rentals, but it’s going to wait until the fall to implement the changes,” reports Zane Woodford.

The regulations will limit short-term rentals like Airbnb to the owner’s primary residence in residential areas. In commercial zones, owners will be permitted to rent properties in which they don’t live.

During a public hearing Tuesday night, about two thirds of the 32 people who spoke were opposed to the new rules.

“I probably will lose my business. I will probably lose some homes and maybe even go bankrupt,” Jessica Woodman told council.

“It’s not something small.”

Woodman said she owns 17 Airbnb properties. Like many other short-term rental owners and operators who spoke, Woodman suggested the effect of short-term rentals on the housing market is overblown.

“It’s like the Red Scare: ‘Airbnb is going to change everything, Airbnb is going to destroy our affordable housing,’” Woodman said.

Click here to read “Halifax council approves short-term rental regulations but delays implementation.”

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3. Moving the needle on childhood immunizations in Canada

A colourful poster advertising the kids and vaccines town hall on Thursday with dates, times, the names of the hosts, and bright splashes of red, blue, green and yellow against a yellow-beige background.
A poster from the Kids and Vaccines Town Hall. Credit: ScienceUpFirst

This item is written by Yvette d’Entremont.

When it comes to keeping up with routine health care needs, the pandemic has created its share of challenges. It turns out childhood vaccinations are not immune to the trend. In 2021, one in four Canadian children missed their scheduled shots. 

To help draw attention to the importance of routine childhood immunizations, Children’s Healthcare Canada (CHC) and ScienceUpFirst have declared this Thursday as National Kids & Vaccines Day 2023. This follows on the heels of last year’s inaugural event (reported here).

In a joint media release on Tuesday, the two organizations said they’re marking the day by hosting a national live virtual town hall event focused on kids and vaccines. Free and starting at 9pm AST this Thursday, expert panelists will answer questions from parents, caregivers and educators. 

“So many factors have contributed to the decline in routine immunizations for kids – from lock downs, to limited public health resources, to skepticism caused by misinformation. This is why organizations like ScienceUpFirst are important,” ScienceUpFirst director Magda Byma said in the media release. 

“We’re thrilled to be working with Children’s Healthcare Canada to reach parents and caregivers with the best available science so they can make the science-informed decisions and keep their children protected.”

The groups noted recent data from Public Health Ontario shows that vaccinations for Hepatitis B in that province plummeted to 17% in the 2020-21 school year compared to 67% the previous year. Vaccines against HPV in Ontario dropped from 58% in 2019 to 0.8% in 2021.

“All of this data shows that kids are not being protected against many of the diseases we’ve been immunizing against for decades,” the release said. 

The president and CEO of Children’s Healthcare Canada, Emily Gruenwoldt, described the event as a “timely opportunity” to connect with child health experts to learn more about the importance of childhood vaccines and the role they play in protecting children from serious infectious diseases including measles, polio, and COVID-19.

More information on National Kids & Vaccines Day and instructions to register for Thursday night’s live virtual town hall can be found here

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4. Steak and Stein

A young woman with dark hair and wearing a bulky beige knit sweater holds up a selfie stick to take a photo of a group of people behind her. They are in the entrance of a restaurant with the doors behind them and a Pepsi fridge nearby.
Staff from Steak and Stein location in Halifax. Credit: Steak and Stein/Facebook

The Halifax and Dartmouth locations of Steak and Stein have closed for good. Employees at both locations got a letter about the news on Feb. 19 telling them they were being laid off as of Feb. 18. A copy of the letter has been making the rounds on social media.

A letter with the Steak and Stein logo and dated Feb. 19, 2023 with the subject line: Closure of Steak and Stein Restaurants. The letter explains that the restaurants are now closed and the last day of employment for workers is Feb. 18. They will receive wages for hours worked between Feb. 13 and Feb. 18 on the next payday Full time employees will be cut off from benefits program on Feb. 28. The letter is signed by John W. Scott and Jack Smith
A letter workers of Steak and Stein received on the weekend. Credit: Contributed

Bill Spurr at Saltwire has this story on the closures. He interviewed Richard Alexander, Atlantic vice-president for Restaurants Canada, who said workers will likely fight not being paid vacation or severance pay.

“Vacation pay is essentially withheld wages for employees, so the employee would hold back a percentage of earnings as the individual works, and then when the employee is on vacation, they use that vacation pay to cover off the statutory obligation for vacation. So, if the employment relationship is terminated, the employer, by law, is required to pay the full amount of the vacation pay,” Alexander said.

Alexander also noted that 5,000 restaurants have closed across Canada during COVID. He said COVID-related debt, inflation, and an increase in the excise tax on alcohol in Nova Scotia, are some of the factors behind the closures. He told Spurr that CEBA loans that were issued during the pandemic are now coming due, and some restaurants may not be able to pay back a portion of those loans that are due by Dec. 31, 2023.

The employees had run a Facebook group where they shared this message on Feb. 20:

We wanted to take a moment to thank all the people who have come through our doors over the years, those of you who we have considered family and who we look forward to seeing on a weekly basis. We are very saddened that we will never see those again inside the four walls of the Steak and Stein.

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Women want more pockets. Here’s a history of why we don’t have a lot of them in our clothing

A pair of dark denin jeans with a yellow envelope sticking out of the front pocket.
Women like pockets. We have stuff to carry around, too. Credit: Pixaby/Unsplash

Today I want to talk about pockets. Yes, pockets. Women like pockets in their clothing, but we don’t get nearly enough of them, if we get them at all. 

If you didn’t know, there’s a long history behind pockets in women’s clothing. I hadn’t thought about the reason why; I just knew a lot of my clothes don’t have pockets. And if I found a piece of clothing with pockets when out shopping, I was always pleasantly surprised.

I went through the clothes in my own closet, including the dresses, blazers, and dress pants. Some of my blazers have pockets; some have faux pockets. Only one of my dresses has pockets, and none of my dress pants have pockets. Sure, my jeans have pockets; those back pockets, of course, but also the ones in the front are often the fake pockets. You know, just a sewn up slit where a pocket could go, but the manufacturer didn’t bother.

I have a daughter who figured out this no-pocket business very earlier on. She even gave her father a lecture on the lack of pockets in women’s clothing. Her prom dress had pockets, though; they were one of the features that sold her on the gown.

I had a look around this week and it seems the history of pockets started out in the 17th century. Back then, men and women carried their belongings in a pouch attached to their clothing. Eventually, people started to hide those pouches under their clothing so thieves couldn’t get at your stuff.

Over time, those pouches became pockets sewn into the clothing of men. But women still had to carry the pouches under lots of layers of clothing.

Then came the French Revolution when clothing designs for women like corsets became much more form-fitting. There was no longer any room for those pouches underneath the clothing. I read a few articles that said this was a way to keep women powerless because they didn’t have a way to carry around their own belongings.

According to this article in How Stuff Works, there was a push for pocket equity in the 1800s:

The Rational Dress Society, founded in 1891, rallied women to dress for comfort and health by ditching constrictive corsets and donning comfy, useful clothing such as trousers — which, of course, featured pockets. Then, in the 1920s, fashion designer Coco Chanel began sewing them into her women’s jackets. But it wasn’t until the 1970s, when women regularly wore pants, and especially blue jeans, that females moved a step closer to pocket parity.

Okay, that brings us to the 70s, when I was kid. Still, women have fewer pockets than men. What gives?

Well, there are a few reasons I found for why women have fewer pockets in our clothing. Having fewer pockets means you have to carry around a purse. The lack of pockets in clothing is keeping an entire bag industry going. I know people who love their hangbags, but they can be expensive for a decent one. The global handbag industry was valued at USD 49.12 billion in 2021.

And another reason for no pockets? It’s cheaper to make clothing with no pockets or small pockets that barely hold anything. Fast fashion means fewer pockets.

In 2018, Jan Diehm and Amber Thomas did a study on pockets in the top 20 brands of women’s and men’s jeans. What did they find?

On average, the pockets in women’s jeans are 48% shorter and 6.5% narrower than men’s pockets.

A graphic with two drawings of pockets. The small pocket represents a pocket in women's jeans while the larger pocket represents a pocket in men's jeans. The text says "click an item to test the fit in each pocket." And then there are drawings of an iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel, a front wallet, a pen, a woman's hand, and a man's hand.
Credit: Jan Diehm and Amber Thomas

But they also wanted to know how the pockets in women’s and men’s jeans functioned. Could everyday items like a smartphone, wallet, pen, or even your own hand fit into those pockets?

Only 40 percent of women’s front pockets can completely fit one of the three leading smartphone brands. Less than half of women’s front pockets can fit a wallet specifically designed to fit in front pockets. And you can’t even cram an average woman’s hand beyond the knuckles into the majority of women’s front pockets.

A black men's blazer hangs on a rack in a store. Under the jacket is a white shirt and black tie. Behind the jacket display is another rack of men's shirts. The wall in the background is made of red brick.
Men get all the pockets. Credit: Logan Weaver/Unsplash

So, what about pockets in men’s clothing? Well, men get lots of pockets.

This article in the Gentlemen’s Gazette has the complete guide to pockets in menswear. Men’s jackets have patch pockets, flap pockets, the jetted pocket, the ticket pocket, the breast pocket, and the inside pockets.  

Men’s pants have slant pockets, vertical pockets, frogmouth pockets, the coin pocket, and back pockets. 

And men’s shirts often have a chest pocket.  

To be fair, the Gentlemen’s Gazette does point out the gendered differences in pockets in clothing, too, and includes a bit of the history of pockets — or lack of them — in women’s clothing. 

Oh, this article in the Art of Manliness details the history of pockets in men’s pants, including in cargo pants, which were part of military uniforms. Men needed to carry weapons and such around, but those pant designs have found their way into everyday wear for men. And cargo pants and cargo shorts have lots of pockets.

Here’s what the Art of Manliness has to say about pockets in men’s clothing:

Given the rich history of the humble pocket, it’s not surprising we’ve become so attached to their attachment. Men’s pockets have for centuries held the components of millions of adventures and memorable moments: the handkerchief offered to a sad, but darn cute lady; the money used to buy a favorite book; the ticket for a cross-country adventure; the knife that saved a life.

Darn cute ladies would like their own pockets.

Over on Instagram, there’s a group called Girls Carrying Shit whose tagline is “after thousands of years without pockets, non-men have evolved a superior grip to carry their shit.” On that account, women share photos of themselves, well, carrying stuff: dishes, cocktails, bouquets of flowers, their phones, bottles of wine, and so on. Women have learned to improvise over the years when we don’t have enough pockets and don’t want to carry a purse. We stuff our keys, lipstick, money, and whatever in our bras or our boots. At least I did.

Iris the Amazing sent along this article in the Guardian by Rosie Talbot, who decided to make her own clothes with giant pockets after she lost a paperback book on the train. The dress she was wearing had only tiny pockets with just enough space for her credit card. So, Talbot, who was already an accomplished seamstress, having made costumes for theatre, decided to get back to sewing her own clothes, especially long flowing skirts, with big ol’ pockets. Talbot writes:

Now, I dived back into that hobby, researching huge 18th-century-style pockets that tied on under a woman’s skirt and could hold an astonishing amount of stuff. It seemed that as women’s garments became more figure-hugging these large pockets were exchanged for purses called “reticules”, and we never really went back.

I wanted some big enough to fit the essentials – phone, keys, a book, my iPad and maybe a bottle of wine. I quickly realised that pockets of such gargantuan proportions were impossible to fit into even the most generous modern skirt design.

Finally, I had the pockets I had dreamed of. What I didn’t expect was for so much else to change. I get stared at a lot but I don’t feel self-conscious; rather, I’m more confident than ever. My skirts make me memorable. Strangers stop to talk to me, and each conversation becomes an opportunity to connect and learn.

Are sisters going to have to sew our own pockets like Talbot did?

Maybe there is a bit of hope. During the pandemic, pants were put into two categories: “soft” pants, like leggings, sweatpants, and pajama bottoms; and “hard” pants like jeans or dress pants. Now in the Before Times, I always said leggings were NOT pants. But then the pandemic hit and leggings became the bottom garment of choice for working from home. I actually bought more leggings during the pandemic. Sometimes ⁠— gasp! ⁠— I wear them outside, like in front of people.

Now, I did a google search and there are leggings with pockets! Is this a start to getting more pockets in the rest of our clothing? I hope so.

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1815: the year mice took over Nova Scotia

A small grey mouse sticks its head into a half-full Starbucks drink that is tossed onto the grey cobble stone sidewalk. The cup is sitting next to a curb and there are leafy green bushes above.
I used this photo of a mouse drinking from a Starbucks cup because it’s better than the photo of the pile of dead mice. Credit: Mert Guller/Unsplash

Okay, this bit is a little disturbing. I also wrote it while I was eating supper last night (not pancakes, though), which was a mistake.

Anyway, Andrew MacLean at Backyard History had this story about the year 1815 and how it became known as “Year of the Mice” because Nova Scotia was overrun by rodents. Here’s a bit from MacLean’s story:

In 1877 Dr. George Patterson wrote his book called The History of Pictou County. No one had ever written a history of the central regions of Nova Scotia before, and he wanted to personally interview the oldest people to hear first hand what life had been like for them.  

He wandered the area interviewing its oldest inhabitants to capture their recollections of the region’s history before it was too late. 

Dr. Patterson tried to piece together what had caused the Year of The Mice, but he found that the people who had experienced it said that they had seemingly come out of nowhere: 

“During the previous season they did not appear in any unusual numbers. But at the end of Winter, they were so numerous as to trouble the sugar makers by fouling their troughs for gathering sap, and before planting was over, the woods and fields alike swarmed with them. They were of the large species of field mouse, still sometimes seen in the country, but which has never since been very numerous.” 

He wrote: “this was a most destructive visitation, from which this portion of the country suffered from these seemingly insignificant animals. The rodent hordes infested Tatamagouche, Pictou, Colchester and Antigonish.” 

“These animals swarmed everywhere, and consumed everything edible, even the potatoes in the ground. In some houses at West River are still reserved books which the leather on the covers has been gnawed by them.” 

The mice hit farms the hardest, eating all the seeds that had been planted that spring, so crops eventually failed. Governor Sir John Coape Sherbrooke provided donations that stopped people from starving.

In the winter, the mice started to die off. And there were so many dead mice, Patterson wrote, that “one could trample them under his feet and finally they died in hundreds, so that they could be gathered in heaps, and their putrefying carcasses might be found in some places in such numbers as to taint the air.”

Apparently, such mice invasions were more common in PEI. Here’s MacLean again:

In 1699 a traveller from France named Dièreville visited what was then called Ile St. Jean. He would publish his observations about daily early life when the Maritimes were called Acadia into a book called Relation du voyage du Port Royal de l’Acadie ou de la Nouvelle France. 

In it he wrote that every seven years mice (or locusts) ravaged PEI: “The Island of St. John is stated to be visited every seven years by swarms of locusts or field mice, alternately – never together. After they ravage the land, they precipitate themselves into the sea.” 

MacLean was on Information Morning on Tuesday talking about the “Year of Mice.” You can listen to that here.

I think that’s enough of the rodent talk for today. I feel like I have something crawling on me.

You can read the whole story here or listen to the podcast here.

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Budget Committee (Wednesday, 9:30am, City Hall and online) — agenda

Heritage Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 3pm, online) — agenda


Audit and Finance Standing Committee  (Thursday, 1pm, City Hall and online) — agenda


Public Accounts (Wednesday, 9am, One Government Place and online) — https://nslegislature.ca/legislative-business/committees/standing/public-accountsNova Scotia Community College – Annual Report, Skilled Labour Shortage and Continuing Care Assistants Recruitment Initiatives and Programs; with representatives from the Departments of Advanced Education; Labour, Skills and Immigration; Seniors and Long-Term Care; and Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC)

On campus



Myths, Facts, and Advances in treating Cancer: A Radiation Oncology Perspective (Wednesday, 7pm, online) — Dal Mini Medical School


Panel Discussion on African Centred Approaches to Black Health (Thursday, 5:30pm, online) — with Juanita Paris, Taiwo Okunade, Nwanneka Ejiofor, Robert Seymour Wright, Yinka Akin-Deko, and moderator Barbara Hamilton-Hinch. More info here

Open Dialogue Live: Building strong health outcomes through research (Thursday, 6:30pm, online) — more info here

Saint Mary’s

Devastation Explained: Understanding Disaster in Syria and Turkey (Wednesday, 7pm, Halifax Central Library) — panel will discuss how the consequences of this natural disaster are not only ‘natural;’ with Serre Hakyemez, University of Minnesota; Joshua Landis, University of Oklahoma; Nesi Altaras, from Turkey and Montreal; and Cihan Erdal, Carleton University; moderated by Rylan Higgins, Saint Mary’s 

In the harbour


2:30 Zim China, container ship, sails from Pier 41 to sea 
3:30 NYK Virgo, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove to sea 
5:00 Atlantic Sky, ro-ro container ship arriving Fairview Cove from Liverpool 
5:30 Boheme, car carrier, arriving at Autoport from Southampton 
6:00 Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arriving at Pier 42 from St. John’s 
6:00 Vayenga Maersk, container ship, arriving at Pier 42 from Montreal 
15:30 Boheme, car carrier, departing Pier 42 to sea 
15:45 Atlantic Sky, ro-ro container ship, departing Fairview Cove for sea 
16:30 Vayenga Maersk, container ship, departing Pier 42 for sea 
21:00 Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Pier 42 to Autoport 


When I was searching for photos of pockets in stock photo websites, there were a lot of photos of women with flowers in their jean pockets. I have never carried flowers in the pockets I do have.

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