Keeping Women’s Economic Equality on Leaders’ Radar This Election

OTTAWA – August 25, 2015 – Although a leaders’ debate focused on women’s issue may not be moving forward, CFUW is pleased to see issues affecting women’s economic participation, such as child care and parental leave, on the radar of political parties.

The economic participation of women is essential to Canada’s economy and should not be underestimated. The OECD estimates that closing the gap in women and men’s economic participation could grow our economy by between 9% and 16% in the next twenty years.

“Policies that support women’s economic participation include those that make it easier for mothers to stay in and return to the workforce, such as affordable and accessible child care, parental leave, and greater flexibility in the workforce”, said Doris Mae Oulton, President of CFUW. “We’re therefore pleased to see that political parties are making these policies part of their platforms”.

“It’s unacceptable that women continue to make up the majority of low-wage, part-time workers, in part owing to the high cost of caring for children”, said Ms Oulton. “That’s why it’s so encouraging that child care and parental leave has become a prominent issue in this election. Making quality early learning and child care more affordable is one key way to advance women’s economic equality and participation”.

So far in the election, the NDP, the Conservative Party of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada, and Green Party have  presented their visions for defraying to costs of child care. Last week the Liberal Party of Canada also announced that they intend to make parental leave more flexible, and provide federally regulated employees with the right to request more flexible work arrangements to accommodate family obligations.

CFUW is however disappointed that a leaders’ debate focused on women’s issues will not be going forward.

“Without the commitment from all party leaders, the Up for Debate campaign pushing for the debate has had alter its plans”, said Ms. Oulton. “A debate would have given much greater visibility to issues like violence against women and women’s economic equality in the election. In lieu of a debate, Up for Debate will be organizing one on one interviews with leaders. CFUW and other members of the campaign will also be looking for other opportunities to raise the issues with candidates, the leaders and voters.”

With the Globe and Mail election debate on the economy scheduled for September 17th, CFUW hopes to hear all the leaders explain their in-depth plans for advancing women’s economic equality, including other issues like poverty, housing and homelessness, the gender wage gap and violence against women.

CFUW is a non-partisan, voluntary, self-funded organization with over 100 CFUW Clubs, located in every province across Canada. Since its founding in 1919, CFUW has been working to improve the status of women, and to promote human rights, public education, social justice, and peace.

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For more information contact Tara Fischer, Advocacy Coordinator, advocacy@cfuw.org  or 613-234-8252 ext. 106

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