Canadian women are under attack by the Harper Conservatives, and on the eve of International Women's Day, March 8, the BC Teachers' Federation is calling on the federal government to restore the cuts it has made to women's programs, resources, and services across the nation.
"It is sad to say that we have gone backwards in time," says BCTF President Jinny Sims. "Women made huge gains through the 1980s and the 1990s. But the Harper government's attack has not just halted that progress, it has turned the clock back. In today's society, it's unacceptable that women are losing many of the rights they have earned over the years."
Sims says "International Women's Day is an important day in Canada and around the world because it gives us the chance to pause and reflect on the many women who have impacted our lives. But in Canada, it's also a day when we consider the backward steps that have occurred for women. We need to think about the future and the kind of society we want to leave for future generations."
Sims says Canada has regressed over the past few years. "The federal government has cut much of the funding that supported women in their struggles and in their advocacy. Many women's centres have closed and some women who are trying to get out of abusive relationships have nowhere to go."
Women have made gains, says Sims, but there is still much more work to be done. She points out that Canada's working mothers with young children contribute to the country's economy, yet "cuts to childcare will be a barrier to their full participation in the work force. Quality childcare supports women's employability." Sims says, "The Harper government needs to support working mothers, instead of slashing the very services that allow them to fully contribute to our society."