Budget Leaves Women Out
Canadian Federation of University Women
OTTAWA, March 4, 2010 – “Thursday’s budget offers very little support for women. In fact it has really left women behind,” says Susan Russell, Executive Director of the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW). Ms. Russell concluded, “On the issues that would lift women out of economic recession and poverty this budget is shamefully silent.”
The budget, which has been described as satisfactory by the business community can only be given a failing grade by women because it fails to consider the gender bias inherent in the stimulus spending. This bias was revealed in a study conducted by Queen’s Professor, Kathleen Lahey this week. The study showed that women have only received about 7 to 22 per cent of federal infrastructure spending, as the spending has been focused in physical infrastructure projects where women are underrepresented in employment. Increased spending in social infrastructure and mandated employment equity in projects funded by the stimulus would begin to reverse this bias. Canada cannot begin to recover economically if half of its population is left behind.
Much-needed childcare spaces were not included in the budget. While increasing the child tax benefit for single parents may help some families, many women find it difficult to access quality childcare and when they do, it is a serious financial burden that limits their ability to participate in the workforce. The government has again missed out on an opportunity to provide economic stimulus though providing the social infrastructure of childcare that would benefit and employ women across the country.
The additional funding for ending violence against Aboriginal Women must be allocated to the Sisters in Spirit Initiative. The CFUW calls on the government to allocate this funding to the Sisters in Spirit immediately.
Finance Minister Flaherty predicted that his budget would create a, “… a Canada in which our children and grandchildren will surpass us.” Yet without a strategy to end the poverty experienced by almost 1 child in 6 in Canada this will not happen. Without spending in key areas like childcare and a national housing strategy, women’s economic inequality will continue. This budget has failed to invest in women and to take on the work of building a prosperous and inclusive future for all Canadians.
CFUW is a non-partisan, voluntary, self-funded, non-governmental organization of about 10,000 women university graduates in 118 Clubs across Canada. CFUW works to improve the status of women and girls, education, peace, and human rights. CFUW holds special consultative status at the United Nations and serves on the Sectoral Committee on Education of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. CFUW is the largest of 79 national affiliates of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW).
Contact: Susan Russell, Executive Director, Canadian Federation of University Women
613 234 8252