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B.C. Government Policies Have Negative Effect On Women

March 7 2008 - 'Still Waiting For Justice: Provincial policies and gender equality in BC 2001-2008', a report released by the B.C. Federation of Labour concludes that the Gordon Campbell government's policies have unfairly impacted women.

The report was prepared by University of British Columbia Professors Gillian Creese and Veronica Strong-Boag. Gillian Creese said:

"Women are paid less than men. They are going deeper into debt for their education than men. Women are bearing the brunt of the childcare crisis in the province. Tax changes have disproportionately impacted women and they are under-represented in the political arena."

Federation Secretary-Treasurer, Angela Schira commented:

"Whether itís employment standards, minimum wage rates, taxation, childcare or housing policies, this study shows the Campbell government has systematically disbanded agencies that were designed to help women at the same time they introduced policies that have trapped many women in poverty."

Three areas of public policy are highlighted for their detrimental effect on women:

  • changes to public sector employment, especially in health care
  • changes to employment standards and minimum wages, and
  • policies that limit access to affordable childcare

"Even in retirement women are likely to have smaller pensions, fewer RRSPís and a lower standard of living," said co-author Veronica Strong-Boag. "Provincial policies have had a direct and clearly negative impact on women in the province."

The report recommends a number of policy changes to redeme the situation, including:

  • a $10/hour minimum wage
  • a halt to the privatization of public services
  • pay equity and employment equity policies
  • accessible and affordable childcare
  • reinvestment in social housing, and
  • re-establishment of the Ministry for Womenís Equality

Angela Schira added:

"This Report makes it clear that while the Campbell government slashed budgets and shut down agencies it was women who were hurt most. As we celebrate International Womenís Day, we need to draw attention to these backward policies and press the government to undo the damage."

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