International Women’s Day Puts Spotlight on Ottawa

International Women’s Day is a reminder to celebrate the great achievements that society has made in recognizing the equality of women.  “Canadian girls now have role models, they have the right to be involved in politics, they have many opportunities in every aspect of life.  This is worthy of celebration,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May.  “But the job is not done.  International Women’s Day is also a day to recognize that we have to continue the work for gender equality.”

 “It is important to look at legislation through the lens of how it impacts women,” said May.  “For example, cancelling the long-gun registry hurts women at risk of domestic violence, closing Employment Insurance offices is a hardship for many unemployed women, and potential cuts to Old Age Security is a worry for senior women.  We must ensure that legislation is beneficial for women at any age.”

 “Female political representation is still lacking in Canada.  Women are still not paid equally to men.  Key programs such as the Court Challenges for promoting Charter rights have been lost.  The Status of Women Canada has been hampered in its work.  And we are still lacking adequate child care programs in Canada.  While March 8th is a good day to celebrate, we must also realize that the journey is not yet complete,” said Green Status of Women Critic Rebecca Harrison.

 Women’s rights in the House of Commons made news recently when questions were raised over the right of an MP to vote while holding her baby.  “As a woman in Parliament, I see clearly that we have a ways to go before we achieve equity,” said May. “We need more women to get involved in the political process and for that to happen, we need to have settings and procedures that are welcoming and encouraging. Women should not feel they have to choose between having a family and being involved in their government.”

 Women represent over half of the population of Canada, yet less than 21 percent of Parliamentarians are women.

 The United Nations International Women’s Day began in 1911 to coordinate efforts for women’s rights and participation in social, political and economic processes.