Each year, the federal government marks Gender Equality Week during the fourth week of September. It is a time to recognize the progress that women and gender diverse communities have made in advancing their rights, and it is also a time to recommit to the ongoing struggle for gender justice.
CEIU is marking Gender Equality Week this year with a call to action: in the upcoming federal election, let’s vote for gender equality.
Celebrating our progress
Women and gender diverse people have been hit the hardest by the pandemic yet continue to fight for justice and human rights. Despite setbacks, there have been some very important victories over the past year:
- New pay equity legislation came into effect at the end of August. This new law is a historic victory that came after decades of fighting for equal pay for work of equal value for men and women.
- The federal government has committed funding for a Canada-wide affordable, accessible child care system and is signing agreements with provinces and territories. The funding will cut child care costs, increase the number of spaces, and also includes commitments to Indigenous early learning and child care.
- As of January 1, 2021, the new Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations came into force for all workers in the federal sector. This new regime will improve protections for workers against harassment and violence at work.
- On June 3, 2021, the 2021 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People National Action Plan: Ending Violence Against Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People was released.
- At our recent CEIU National Convention, delegates voted in favour of resolutions to advocate for additional supports for people affected by domestic violence, to provide training on privilege and intersectionality to the National Executive, and to add an additional chair for non-binary members to National Human Rights and Race Relations Committee.
- PSAC has recently committed to PSAC moving forward with recommendations from the Gender Equity Task Force
A long way to go
While we celebrate our successes, it is very clear that we still have a long way to go towards achieving gender equality in Canada. The effects of the pandemic have disproportionately been felt by women and gender diverse people.
Here are some facts that highlight gender inequality today in Canada:
- 160 women and girls were killed by gender violence in 2020, an increase from 2019, and this trend continues. Indigenous women made up 12 per cent of femicide victims, despite comprising just 5 per cent of Canada’s overall population.
- Statistics Canada reports that about six in ten Indigenous women have experienced some form of intimate partner violence in their lifetime.
- Ten times more women than men have fallen out of the labour force since 2020.
- Results of a Trans Pulse study indicate that a majority of trans and non-binary people in Canada are experiencing both negative financial and negative social impacts of COVID-19.
- In Canada, women earn 78 cents for every dollar earned by men, on average. Looking further, per dollar, racialized women earn 67 cents, Indigenous women earn 65 cents, and women with a disability earn 54 cents.
- Current costs for child care in Canada (outside of Quebec) range from $450 to 1600 per month, which is a huge burden on families and has a negative impact on women’s economic participation. The $10-a-day child care agreements with the provinces and territories risk being scrapped if the Conservatives win the election.
Vote for gender equality
This year, we can make a difference at the ballot box. A lot is at stake.
- Stay informed and engaged this election with the PSAC Election Tool Kit
- Pledge to vote for a candidate who will make gender equity a priority
- Find out where and how you can vote
- Check out these other resources to learn more:
Jodi MacPherson, National Vice-President (Women’s Issues), Eastern Canada
Lynda MacLellan, National Vice-President (Women’s Issues), Western Canada