This International Women’s Day, PSAC recognizes the strength and resiliency of women each and every day. The global pandemic has disproportionately impacted women. This is a gendered crisis and we must continue to organize and take action towards a just recovery. A just recovery that addresses the intersectional gendered implications of the pandemic.
In the early months of the pandemic, women’s participation in the Canadian paid labour force fell to its lowest level in three decades. This ground will not be easily recovered because women are over-represented in the industries hit hardest by the pandemic. This includes the service sector; where jobs are often lower-waged, non-unionized and precarious. Women make up the majority of our frontline workers and this essential work has placed them at the forefront during the pandemic, putting them at greater risk of contracting the virus.
The closure of schools and daycares created additional hurdles for many women because they were more often forced to limit their paid working hours or give up work altogether to care for their children. This was further exacerbated for women from marginalized communities who face additional systemic barriers.
A just recovery plan must have a feminist approach that is intersectional. This means a Canada-wide affordable and accessible child care system. We have been fighting for child care for decades and we are at a monumental time to bring about this change. Women’s equality and economic independence depends on child-care. Last year, the government promised to create a national early learning and child care system. This is not enough. The government must lay out and fund a plan for universally accessible and high quality child care.
The women of our union have fought long and hard for equality and justice; and we haven’t let the pandemic hold us back. Through our actions and solidarity, we will break down barriers and fight for a just recovery for all. This International Women’s Day, and every day, we must keep fighting for an equitable future. Together, we have the power to create lasting change.