International Women’s Day

Green Party calls for renewed focus on equality on International Women’s Day

OTTAWA – The Green Party is celebrating International Women’s Day and calling for a renewed focus on achieving equality for women in Canada.

“The situation for women has improved immensely over the past century, but there is much work to be done. Women still earn only about 70 percent of what men take home,” said Green Party leader Elizabeth May. “Unfortunately, the situation has been made worse by the regressive actions of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has done more damage to issues important to women in two years than many of us thought possible. Last year, Canada slipped from 14th to 18th place in terms of women’s equality.”

Ms. May noted that the Harper government has eroded progress towards women’s rights in Canada by eliminating the word “equality” from the mandate of Status of Women Canada, prohibited advocacy activities of women’s organization funded by Status of Women and canceled the Court Challenges program, which was accessible to promote Charter rights. The Harper government has also killed federal-provincial child care agreements and failed to create new child care spaces.

“The Green Party considers it crucial to implement the recommendations of the Federal Pay Equity Task force, something the Conservative government has failed to do,” she said. “We also recognize that women’s access to education and participation in the workforce is necessary to achieve equality. But equity will never become reality unless we can ensure adequate maternity benefits and full access to affordable childcare, among other measures.”

Ms. May also said Canada must work toward increasing the representation of women in Parliament.

“Women represent over half of the population of Canada, yet less than 21 percent of Parliamentarians are women,” she said. “We rank a dismal 50th in the world in terms of women’s representation in Parliament. In countries with fair voting systems, more women are elected and the Green Party will continue to support electoral reform as a way to better represent women in Parliament.”

“The Green Party is proud to have a woman, Elizabeth May, as leader,” noted deputy leader Adriane Carr. “We are currently the only federal party with a female leader. On behalf of all Canadian women, we urge legislators of all stripes to renew efforts to attain equality.”

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