Tag Archives: advocacy

Status of Women Act: Sign the Petition

The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) welcomes the private members bill that will give Status of Women Canada a legislated mandate. CFUW congratulates Member of Parliament, Irene Mathyssen, Status of Women Critic for the New Democratic Party, for this great initiative.

Since 2006 women’s groups have been under a systematic attack; the de-funding of women’s organizations, the cancellation of the Court Challenges Program, hundreds of requests for research funding denied, attacks on pay equity, and Status of Women offices closed and understaffed.  These actions have taken place while Canada continues to see a large wage gap and systemic violence against women resulting in hundreds of women missing or murdered without justice served.  What is worse is that Status of Women Canada has fewer resources and no government plan to deal with these problems head on.

Mathyssen’s bill (C-581) will work to ensure that Status of Women Canada remains a federal institution that can work independently of political influence to promote and protect women’s human rights.

CFUW calls on all political parties to support this bill and women’s equality.

Print off and circulate petitions in support of this bill, click here to download the petition.

Women’s Rights at the Crossroads

Hosted by: Sudan Inter-Agency Reference Group and Inter Pares
Attended by: Robin Jackson, Executive Director and Sam Spady, Advocacy Coordinator, on behalf of CFUW

Two Sudanese Women’s Rights Activists spoke about the challenges of civil society in Sudan, and their commitment to continue working with Sudanese women from the North and South through the upcoming referendum.

Sudan, which has endured over fifty years of intermittent civil wars, will come to an important crossroads this January. As a part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005, Southern Sudan will vote in a January, 2011 referendum to decide if they should become an independent state.

The Sudanese activists, Fahima A. Hashim, Director of the Salmmah Women’s Resource Centre and Zaynab Elsawi, Program Coordinator for the Sudanese Women Empowerment for Peace (SuWEP) shared how their organizations have been working to build trust and consensus between Northern and Southern women’s groups and have been able to work together to address the repression they collectively face under the al-Bahsir regime.

Although Hashim and Elsawi were not cynical they were not hopeful for the situation in North Sudan following the referendum. While power imbalances and customary laws in the South work against women’s equality, Southern women’s rights are guaranteed in their constitution, and have been able to participate in negotiations. Women in the North do not have this legal tool to use in their efforts, which poses a more difficult situation.

Hashim and Elsawi work focuses on capacity building for women leaders and to advocate for changes to Sudanese laws. One legal area where they have made progress is rape law.  Confronted with the dire situation in Darfur, they worked to compile information on the sexual violence taking place in the Western region of Sudan, and bring clarity to the laws dealing with rape.

Their goal for the presentation was to raise awareness of both the situation for women created by the al-Bashir regime, and to show that there is a continuum of resistance from Sudanese women who are organizing and working to fight for their rights.

The discussion was both worrying and inspiring.  Northern and Southern Sudanese women, who have witnessed decades of civil war and conflict, have been able to build solidarity and a strong network to fight for equality and peace. In the face of a repressive government and violence they have continued their work bravely and patiently. There is a lot we can learn here in Canada from their commitment, strength and tenacity.