Judy Rebick, National Post
Published: Saturday, March 05, 2011
Governments in Canada over the last 15 years mostly have done the opposite. The last Liberal government promised a national child-care program. It would have been much less than we needed, but Stephen Harper’s Conservatives ditched it anyway. Since Harper has been in power, Canada’s record on women’s equality has tumbled. In 2009, we ranked a disgraceful 73rd in the UN Gender Disparity Index. This is not only because of the Prime Minister’s marginalization of feminist groups, but also because of the economic policies of both Liberals and Conservatives, which have massively increased the gap between rich and poor. Most of the country’s poor are women and children. They are thus the ones who bear the brunt of cuts to social spending. They also suffer most when the public sector is trimmed, since that is where most well-paid jobs for women are located.
International Women’s Day is a celebration of what women have achieved, most of it is because of the efforts of ordinary women organizers and activists. A new generation of feminists are part of every movement for change around the world, from people’s power in Egypt to green power in North America. My hope is that a new women’s movement will emerge as part of these people’s movements and find its own ways to achieve the next wave of equality that will benefit everyone.
Judy Rebick is the former president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women. Her most recent book is Transforming Power: From the Personal to the Political.
© National Post 2011