4.10.1 Women’s equality

Women make up over 50% of Canada’s population, the majority of seniors, and a disproportionate share of the people living in poverty in Canada. Pay inequity is still the rule. Women earn, on average, only 71 cents for every dollar earned by a man; women within visual minorities earn 64 cents and Aboriginal women earn only 46 cents. Lack of access to affordable housing, affordable post-secondary education, and affordable child care make the lives of women, who head the majority of single-parent households, much more difficult. Women under 30 earn less than women in that age group, when adjustments are made for inflation, than they did twenty years ago. Women make up only 25% of the MPs in Canada’s Parliament.

The Conservative government has pushed the clock backwards on women’s rights in Canada. It refused to accept the recommendations of the Pay Equity Task Force that calls for proactive pay equity legislation to bring Canada in line with its national and international human rights obligations. Instead, elimination of women’s pay equity rights was made part of the 2009 budget implementation bill. The Conservative government rolled back the commitment to establish a national affordable child care program. It removed the mandate for promoting women’s equality, and even stripped the quest for ‘women’s equality’ from the mandate of Status of Women Canada (SWC) and only reinserted it after public outcry.

The Greens will vigorously defend every hard-won victory for women’s rights and for women to advance forward towards full equality in Canada. Women’s equality is fundamental to a just society. Among the best ways to break down barriers and advance opportunities for women are through poverty eradication, national affordable child care, programs to eliminate the financial barriers to post-secondary education, programs for affordable housing, and the adoption of a Genuine Progress Indicator that includes measures of unpaid and voluntary work by women (see Part 1: The Green Economy).

Green Party MPs will:

  • Oppose any possible government move to diminish the right of a woman to a safe, legal abortion. We fully support a woman’s right to choose. We will also expand programs in reproductive rights and education to avoid unwanted pregnancies, and expand supports for low-income mothers;

  • Pass pay equity legislation, as recommended by the Pay Equity Task Force; immediately implement full pay equity for women employed in the federal sector and develop tax incentives for companies to meet the highest standards of gender and pay equity;

  • Oppose the use of religious justice systems, such as Sharia Law, in Canada that run contrary to our existing rule of law and that specifically subjugate women and diminish the rights of women;

  • Establish specific job re-entry programs for women with children who want to restart their working lives either part-time or full-time;

  • Reestablish funding for Status of Women Canada and other organizations that fund non-profit women’s groups and advocate for women’s rights;

  • Ensure that the criteria for new appointments to public boards and agencies include equal opportunity for women;

  • Support greater engagement of women in the political life of Canada by advocating that all political parties nominate, train, and support more women candidates;

  • Create better policies and programs to end violence against women;

  • Launch a full inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women.