More wins for women at home and abroad, but progress lacking on work and wages: Oxfam

March 7, 2018

(Ottawa) Over the past year, the federal government’s bold feminist words have translated into tangible action to advance gender equality at home and abroad, but progress is lacking on women’s work and pay equity, according to a new report from Oxfam Canada.

On the eve of International Women’s Day, the second annual scorecard, Turning Feminist Promises into Progress, grades the federal government on its progress between March 2017 and February 2018 in eight policy areas. Oxfam uses a traffic light approach (red, yellow and green), indicating very little, some, or significant progress.

Three categories received a green rating this year: women’s leadership and representation, global development and climate change.

“Under this government’s watch, gender equality has moved from being a side issue to a priority.”

“Under this government’s watch, gender equality has moved from being a side issue to a priority. We have seen enhanced investment in the domestic women’s movement and a serious commitment to gender budgeting. Canada is playing a global leadership role, launching the Feminist International Assistance Policy and championing the Gender Action Plan at the UN climate change summit. The hemorrhage in the foreign aid budget has been stopped for the first time in more than a decade. These are all examples of real commitments to advance women’s rights, at home and abroad,” said Diana Sarosi, Oxfam Canada’s Policy Manager.

However, one key area remains red: jobs and pay equity. Too many women in Canada and around the world remain stuck in precarious, low-paying jobs, and their salaries are still well below what men earn. Add to that difficulty finding affordable and accessible child care, and no wonder female labour force participation remains an issue.

The scorecard details how improvements in a number of policy areas are needed for women to truly succeed in the global economy, including care work, violence against women and progressive taxation.

“With an election on the horizon in 2019, this is the last year for the Liberals to follow through on their ambitious feminist priorities. We are encouraged by the government’s budget promises to introduce pay equity legislation and tackle gender-based violence. Over the next year, we look forward to seeing evidence that the situation for women, particularly those living in poverty, is improving,” Sarosi said.


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