PSAC women occupy Bev Oda's office

    TORONTO, March 8 /CNW Telbec/ - Women members of the Public Service
Alliance of Canada (PSAC) are spending their International Women's Day
occupying the Bowmanville constituency office of Status of Women Minister Bev
    The women are protesting the Harper government's broken election promise
to do more for women's equality, particularly the cuts to the Status of Women
Canada's mandate, operational funding and regional offices.
    Minister Oda's March 7th announcement that the $5 million cut from Status
of Women Canada (SWC) last fall is being "re-invested" will not stop the
scheduled closure of SWC offices Canada-wide. It won't help fund women's
groups who research the roots of women's inequality and who propose systemic
solutions. Nor will it restore the jobs lost by the women in the SWC offices.
    "Harper promised to take concrete and immediate measures to ensure that
Canada fully upholds its commitments to women in Canada," says Robyn Benson,
PSAC elected officer responsible for women's rights and Regional Executive
Vice-President (Prairies).
    "Harper and Oda's fantasy that women's equality has arrived isn't
supported by the facts," according to Benson. "Women working full-time still
only earn 71 cents for every dollar men earn. Only 15% of women with young
children have access to child care. Women and girls still face high levels of
violence with Aboriginal women even more severely affected."
    The women occupying Oda's office want the government to reverse its
backward trend on women's equality. That includes putting women's equality
back into the mandate of Status of Women Canada, and a Women's Program that
funds women's groups who research and advocate for change.
    "Harper and company are actively ignoring women's inequality," says PSAC
Regional Executive Vice-President for Ontario Gerry Halabecki. "By undermining
women's groups who do research and advocacy work, they hope to bury the very
real problems facing women in Canadian society."
    "On this International Women's Day, we're here today to tell them that
they can try to hide from the issues but women are not going to stop doing
what it takes to achieve equality."

For further information:

For further information: Gerry Halabecki, PSAC Regional Executive
Vice-President, (416) 805-3987 (cell); Angela Fairweather, PSAC Regional
Representative,(416) 931-6155

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