International Women’s Day March 2007

On International Women’s Day 2007, the Ad Hoc Coalition for Women’s Equality and Human Rights asks you to join with women everywhere in Canada and Quebec in opposition to the anti-equality policies of the federal Conservative government. Here’s why!

From the Coalition’s website:

For the last few months, women across the country have been speaking out for women’s equality. From Yellowknife to Corner Brook, from Vancouver to Moncton, from Halifax to Quebec City, women have organized rallies, letter writing and post card campaigns, meetings and demonstrations, and even bra burnings and mock funerals for equality. Women have written to newspapers and participated in talk shows, called and written and lobbied their federal and provincial members of parliament, set up websites and equality hotlines to get the message out.

At the pan-Canadian level, an Ad Hoc Coalition for Women’s Equality and Human Rights has been working constantly to raise women’s equality concerns with Cabinet Ministers and the federal opposition parties, organized a rally on Parliament Hill on December 10th and worked with national media and local groups across the country.

Why all this activity?

Women are responding to a series of bad decisions by the Harper government which, if not reversed, will set women’s equality back twenty years. The Harper government began with the cancellation of the federal provincial child care agreements – in a time when 70% of women with children under the age of five are working. They moved on to totally eliminate funding to the Court Challenges Program which was the major base of support for those fighting to ensure their equality rights under the Charter. And they announced that they will not implement the recommendation of the federal Pay Equity Task Force to introduce a proactive pay equity law. Instead, they say they will educate people about pay equity and instruct labour inspectors to investigate workplaces to make sure equal pay practices are followed….something that was tried thirty years ago and failed.

They cut funding to Status of Women Canada, the federal department responsible for advancing women’s equality, by $5 million dollars or 40% of the budget. They are closing 12 out of 16 regional Status of Women offices and cutting 61 out of 131 jobs. They also eliminated Status of Women’s independent policy research fund which has provided a useful resource to government and women’s groups for years. And, they then eliminated “equality” from the mandate of Status of Women Canada. They also changed the rules so that women’s groups which do research or advocate for equality are no longer eligible for federal financial support.

Photo of Women with Fist by Olivia Watson