Labour, Women's Groups Release "Reality Check" On Women's Equality

TORONTO, Feb. 22 /CNW/ - Elementary teachers have endorsed a report produced by labour and women's groups that is described as a "reality check" of Canada's lagging performance in achieving women's equality. The report will be distributed at the Beijing + 15 meeting being held at the United Nations in New York, March 1-12.

"Canadian women have lost a lot of ground in the past 15 years," says Sam Hammond, President, Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO).

"Our government has sent a report to the United Nations that paints a rosy picture on women's equality in Canada. The document produced by the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action and the Canadian Labour Congress is a reality check on what the government is saying."

The UN meeting will evaluate progress, identify challenges, and recommend policies to promote gender equality and the advancement of women's rights. This year holds special significance because it marks the 15th anniversary of the UN's Fourth World Conference on Women.

"Teachers see the consequences of poverty every day in their classrooms. They know how hard it is for children to learn when they are hungry or excluded because they cannot afford fees, materials, or proper clothing. With more women and girls living in poverty and being denied fundamental human rights, we are compromising Canada's future," Hammond said.

Hammond notes that Canada has made commitments to implement equal pay for work of equal value, but the federal government hasn't lived up to its commitments. "The government removed the right to pay equity for federal public sector workers in 2009. The issue is raised in this report and will be front and center next week at the United Nations.

"Five years ago, Canada was ranked amongst the top ten countries in the world for its achievements in women's human rights, but in 2009 Canada had fallen to 73rd in the UN Gender Disparity Index. Changes to gender architecture, shifts in government policy and programming, and the government's inaction to the economic crisis have been felt by the most vulnerable women and girls in Canada."

The joint report is called Reality Check: Women in Canada and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action Fifteen Years On, A Canadian Civil Society Response. It is endorsed by a variety of other organizations, including ETFO.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 73,000 elementary public school teachers and education workers across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.

SOURCE Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

For further information: For further information: Sam Hammond, President, ETFO, (416) 962-3836; Larry Skory, ETFO Communications, (416) 962-3836 (office), (416) 948-0195 (cell)

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Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

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