Women around the world raise their voices against Canadian government at United Nations

NEW YORK, NY, Feb. 23 /CNW/ - All eyes around the world are turned to Canada at the United Nations as trade union women collectively condemn the Canadian government's rejection of a proposal for a sustainable quality education program that would have benefited over 2-million students and 40,000 teachers in developing countries. The proposal would have also valued and supported the voluntary contributions of hundreds of Canadian teachers.

The Canadian Teachers' Federation (CTF) has received overwhelming support from union leaders of Education International (EI), Public Services International (PSI) and the International Trade Unions Confederation (ITUC) at the 55th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW).

"Gender equality and the empowerment of women have been cross-cutting issues in all of our international programs of education and development", explains CTF President Mary-Lou Donnelly. "We have a long history of providing ongoing support to women teacher networks in Asia, Africa and Latin America, with a strong emphasis on eradicating violence against girls and women, advocating for legislation for equal rights and promoting gender equality in teacher organizations. They, in turn, enhance gender equity efforts of national partners.

"Are we yet another victim of the right-wing ideology which is currently being manifested by a series of funding cuts and rejections of proposals by progressive organizations and democratic voices of civil society?" asks Donnelly. "Canada must not relinquish its role as a champion for education and for peace building."

NOTE: CTF will hold a media scrum on Thursday, Feb. 24, between 11:15 and 11:30 a.m. immediately after the Canadian government's presentation at the UN General Assembly. CTF will be joined by two teacher leaders from Ivory Coast and Jamaica who will attest to the sustainability and long-term benefits of the CTF International Programs.

The five-year CTF proposal is built on 50 years of experience and knowledge working with teachers in developing countries. It would have engaged some 400 Canadian teachers in the delivery of much needed professional development in Ghana, Guinea, India, Mongolia, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Mozambique and Togo; it also had the potential to reach thousands more.

A petition is currently being circulated by EI, PSI and ITUC delegates at the UNCSW, urging the Conservative government to rescind its decision. An online petition is also featured on the Federation's Web site at http://www.ctf-fce.ca/petition/Default.aspx. Letters of support from across Canada and around the world (http://www.ctf-fce.ca/International/joinus.aspx) can be read here.

CTF (www.ctf-fce.ca) is the national alliance of 200,000 teachers across Canada and a member of Education International (www.ei-ie.org).

SOURCE Canadian Teachers' Federation

For further information:

Spokesperson:  Mary-Lou Donnelly, CTF President
Media contact: Francine Filion, Director of Communications, 613-899-4247 or ffili@ctf-fce.ca
Background information: Barbara MacDonald, Director of CTF International Programs, 613-232-1505


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