Leaders debate must address women's concerns

    OTTAWA, Oct. 2 /CNW Telbec/ - Advocates for women's equality expect
leaders' to discuss issues raised by women across the country in the leaders'
debate tonight.
    "We will be assessing the leaders' positions on childcare, pay equity,
funding for feminist research and advocacy, and funding for the Court
Challenges Program", says Kate McInturff of Peacebuild, speaking for the Ad
Hoc Coalition for Women's Equality and Human Rights.
    The coalition is releasing today a series of fact sheets for women in the
upcoming election, available at www.womensequality.ca . The Coalition has also
submitted a series of questions on key issues for women to the leaders of all
federal parties.
    "This debate will lose validity if it fails to deal with issues important
to 51% of the population - women," says Jessica Notwell, of the Canadian
Women's CED Council, for the Coalition.
    Women have been systematically under-represented in Parliament. It is
time that all political parties take measures to address this gap and ensure
that issues of key importance to women are addressed.
    In the last few months, women have been very concerned over several
private members bills that would introduce restrictions to abortion rights.
"We were dismayed that Bill C-484 passed second reading, with the support of
almost all Conservative MPs, last March", says Bonnie Diamond, of the Feminist
Alliance for International Action, speaking for the Coalition. "A law and
order approach is not an answer to violence against women."
    "Women need equality enhancing policies and social and economic programs
that bolster their autonomy and allow them to leave abusive partners without
being forced to live in utter poverty," says Diamond.
    Representatives of several women's organizations will be gathered at 260
Dalhousie, room 303 in Ottawa on October 2 to watch the leaders' debate. They
will be available to provide comments to the media.

    The Ad Hoc Coalition for Women's Equality and Human Rights is an umbrella
group of 25 organizations representing women from across Canada. It came
together in 2007 to fight the actions against women's rights taken by the
Government of Canada. For more information, visit our website at:

For further information:

For further information: Andrée Côté, (613) 560-4328

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