Women lose as advocacy organizations close

    OTTAWA, Sept. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - In spite of election promises by Stephen
Harper, women's groups who track women's inequalities and advocate for change,
such as the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) are being forced
to close their doors, according to the Public Service Alliance of Canada
    "During the last election campaign, Harper promised to do more to meet
Canada's international obligations to women's equality," says PSAC Regional
Executive Vice-President Robyn Benson. "Less than a year after forming the
government, then Minister responsible for the Status of Women Bev Oda declared
women equal, closed most of the Status of Women Canada (SWC) regional offices
and cut funding for research and advocacy."
    "Now, one by one, women's organizations who lobby for change are being
forced to shut down. Today, NAWL's offices are closing and others are expected
to follow."
    Women's inequality in Canada is still very much an issue. Women are more
likely to be poor and almost half of Canada's poor children live with a single
female parent. Women's earnings are still 71% of men's earnings and average
incomes for Aboriginal, disabled and racialized women are even lower. Women
make up 51% of the population but still only hold 20% of the seats in the
House of Commons.
    "Most women are not in a position to hire paid lobbyists to put their
case before our elected representatives", says Benson. "Groups, such as NAWL,
play a critical role by researching and documenting the situation of women and
proposing and lobbying for concrete, systemic solutions to make women's
equality a reality."
    The PSAC is joining with NAWL and other unions and women's organizations
across Canada in calling on Status of Women Minister Josée Verner to take
immediate remedial actions, including providing emergency funding for NAWL,
reinstating "equality" and "political participation" as objectives of SWC's
Women's Program and re-opening the SWC offices that have been closed.
    According to Benson the 2007-08 budget for Status of Women Canada's is a
$19.8 million. That's a mere 0.009% of total federal government spending or
$1.30 per woman.
    "Women deserve more. We want a government that is prepared to take
leadership on women's issues through adequate funding, including support for a
strong network of women's groups who advocate for women's equality," says

For further information:

For further information: Louise Laporte, PSAC Communications, (613)

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