UVic Women’s Studies Dept speaks out

Women are voicing their anger over the Harper’s cuts to Status of Women Canada and other organizations. This, from the University of Victoria’s Women’s Studies Department.

WOMEN IN CANADA ARE ANGRY

Recently, the Conservative government announced that it would close 12
Status of Women offices across Canada on April 1, 2006 to save a paltry 5
million dollars. This action will negatively affect hundreds of women¹s
organizations across Canada.

As Women¹s Studies researchers and scholars we denounce this move as
draconian. Changes in the funding criteria for the Women¹s Program to no
longer support advocacy, research and capacity building will severely
diminish the capacity of women¹s advocacy and grassroots organizations to
work for all women¹s equality.

Women still make 30% less than men, even with post-secondary education.
Canada ranks 38th in the world in terms of the male to female wage gap,
violence against women is still a huge social problem, and lack of
affordable housing disproportionately affects women and children causing
them to stay in abusive relationships. Women are still concentrated in
traditional female service professions, and women still provide the bulk of
care to children and elders. Aboriginal women are disproportionately
represented in prisons and they, along with immigrant women and children,
make up a disproportionate share of the poor.

Women do not have access to law making to bring about equality and justice.
Despite making up 50.4% of the population, they hold only 20% of the seats
in the House of Commons. Only 10% of Tory candidates were women in the last
election.

Given this harsh reality, the Conservative government should not be reducing
access to services and redirecting funding to for-profit organizations. If
billions of dollars can be found for military spending, why can¹t the
government find 5 million dollars to help women? We call on all elected
officials and the media to speak out in support of Canadian women. The
government must rescind these backward measures and restore the Status of
Women offices and programs.

Yours truly,
Jo-Anne Lee, Annalee Lepp, Laura Parisi, Christine St. Peter, Helen
Rezanowich, Christine Welsh

Dept. of Women¹s Studies
University of Victoria
Victoria, BC

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