This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of women’s constitutional equality rights.
Gains to women’s equality
- Restoration of women’s status in the Indian Act
- Transformation to the Criminal Code’s provisions on sexual assault
- Improvements to family law
- Adoption of the federal Employment Equity Act
- Acknowledgement of the duty to accommodate for women living with a disability
- Recognition of same-sex marriage
Canada’s role in women’s equality
While the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was enshrined in our Constitution in 1982, section 15 on equality rights only came into force in 1985.
In 1995, Canada adopted the Federal Action Plan for Gender Equality, and it played an active role at the United Nations Fourth Conference on Women. That same year, Canada signed onto the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action on Women’s Equality. PSAC sister Nycole Turmel and other trade unionists ensured that working women’s rights were recognized in this important United Nations platform on women’s rights. Over the last 30 years, pressure from the Canadian women’s movement has resulted in amendments to laws, the Canadian Constitution, as well as international human rights law.
PSAC and women’s rights
From the 1980 ground-breaking strike by women federal public service workers in the Clerical and Regulatory (CR) group, to defending our sick leave today, PSAC remains committed to defending working women’s rights. The inspiring story of the battles won by PSAC sisters is documented in the booklet PSAC Works for Women!
The erosion of women’s rights in Canada
The federal government has attacked women’s groups, cancelled child care funding, attacked pay equity, and it is now attacking collective bargaining and trade union rights.
Now, more than ever, it is important to remember our history and the battles fought and won. We must hold governments accountable and push them to respect their obligations towards women.
On October 19, at the ballot box, vote for women’s equality rights.