Equality and Respect for Women

Sixty years ago, labour activist Madeleine Parent led Québec's famous textile strikes, fought for women's pay equity, the right to abortion and supported the struggles of Aboriginal and immigrant women. The fact that we must include a specific chapter on the rights of women in our 2006 Platform tells us how far Canada still has to go before true gender equality is reached. Although Canada boasts we are a socially progressive country offering equal opportunities for men and women, real gender gaps persist in government and corporate Canada. For instance, over a six-month period, less than 18 per cent of the appointments announced in the Globe and Mail Report on Business were women. And while the percentage of women elected to various legislatures across Canada has increased, many of the top government posts still seem off limits. For instance, only three women have ever been provincial premiers and at the federal level, Canada has never had a female Minister of Finance. Today, only 21.7 per cent of elected municipal officials are women. In order for women to have full equality in every aspect of society, governments must ensure that there is pay equity and equality in all our institutions, our public offices and our decisions. We can also help stop the marginalization of women with progressive policy changes and the proper funding of social programs. And there's still much to be done to change stereotypes in Canada. It starts in Parliament. Stereotypes are dangerous. They contribute to behaviour that can be far more threatening than words. The commercialization and exploitation of women, sexism, and discrimination in the workplace all contribute in a variety of ways - some subtle, some not - to a culture that for far too many condones violence against women. In 2004, 653,000 women encountered some form of spousal violence and nearly one and a half million women were stalked. The Green Party believes it's time to end the fear and end violence against women in Canada. Green Party MPs will work to:
  • Develop tax incentives for companies to meet the highest standards of gender and pay equity.
  • Increase funding for women's crisis centres and shelters, as well as educational programs that build healthy attitudes toward women by working with provincial and municipal governments.
  • Implement full pay equity for women employed in the federal sector.
  • Sign the UN's global initiative for the elimination of discrimination and violence against women, and review Canada's performance to ensure it becomes and remains a world leader in fighting discrimination and violence against women.
  • Coordinate an action plan with the provinces to ensure women may travel safely to and from work, especially in isolated areas and at night.
  • Support municipalities to make urban infrastructure safe for women.
  • Make eliminating institutional racism a top priority of Status of Women Canada's strategy to end violence and abuse facing Aboriginal women.
  • Introduce laws guaranteeing a proportion of seats for women in government appointed bodies.
  • Mandate the CRTC to regulate and receive complaints about the advertising industry.
  • Recognize and value the unpaid work of women through reforms to our tax system.
  • Ensure adequate funding for national organizations such as National Action Committee and other bodies committed to improving the status of women.