February 3rd, 2018

NDP statement on three important women’s rights and justice anniversaries

NDP Critic for Women’s Equality, Sheila Malcolmson (Nanaimo—Ladysmith) made the following statement:

"51 years ago, the Royal Commission on the Status of Women brought to light widespread discrimination against women and set forth a clear plan to promote women’s rights. This trailblazing Commission led to the establishment of Status of Women Canada, and the appointment of a Status of Women Minister. It also empowered a new generation of strong feminists, activists, and leaders who are continuing the fight for equality today.

But in the decades since the Commission, women’s rights violations have continued. Canada has fallen from first to 25th on the United Nations Gender Equality Index. Today, women working full time, year-round, make only 77% of what men earn for work of equal value. Successive Liberal and Conservative governments have ignored the Commission’s recommendations and cut social programs. These cuts have further exacerbated inequality for women.

For decades, New Democrats have pushed hard for pay equity. 2 years ago, the NDP’s pay equity motion, which recognized pay equity as a human right and urged immediate action by the federal government, was adopted. The federal government has said they will table a pay equity bill by the end of 2018. But Canadian women have waited long enough – justice delayed is justice denied.

Today also marks the 1st anniversary of The Globe and Mail’s “Unfounded” series – an investigative series that highlighted deep flaws in the way police handle sexual assault allegations. Every year, 5,500 sexual assault cases are reported to police, but one in five are deemed to be unfounded. We need to build a system that takes those who have been sexually assaulted seriously. We need to foster a culture that believes survivors.

It is more important than ever that we stand together and work towards justice and equality for women. The progress we’ve made so far was only possible because women and allies fought for the rights of future generations. New Democrats know that the federal government has a crucial role to play in advancing gender equality through strong social programs, such as affordable housing, childcare, healthcare, and legal aid. Together, we can build a more just and equitable country for women."