When the pandemic hit, millions of Canadians were suddenly thrown out of work, and women were impacted far more than men.
That’s because more women work in precarious jobs on the front lines of the workforce; in restaurants, grocery stores and taking care of our sick and elderly. They face more risk of contracting COVID-19 at work without being able to rely on full-time work or paid sick leave when they are forced to miss work.
This divide has been felt even more by women from marginalized communities living with disabilities, racialized women, Black women, Indigenous women and women from LGBTQ2+ communities.
More than ever it’s clear we need a government that will make social and economic gender equity a national priority and put women at the forefront of a pandemic recovery that leaves no one behind.
Still to this day, women make only 89 cents for every dollar men make. This gap is even wider for racialized, Black and Indigenous women, women living with disabilities and LBGTQ2+ communities.
Sexual harassment and violence
Because of repeated lockdowns and increased isolation, Canada saw a sharp rise in reported cases of domestic violence against women during the pandemic. Women will be forced to deal with the psychological and physical effects of their abuse long after the pandemic has ended.
Canadian families – especially women and single mothers – struggle to pay rising child care fees and find high-quality care for their children.
They felt the pinch even more as schools and child care centres closed during the pandemic, forcing many parents to choose between going to work and taking care of their kids.
The path to changing this is to support parties that will continue to build and fund a universal, accessible and affordable child care system that reduces fees, creates more child care spots and helps women return to work.
With a maximum refund of $6,000 for the lowest income family, and an even smaller per cent for most families, the Conservative Party’s proposal for a mere tax break falls woefully short of what Canada needs. It’s complicated, doesn’t help families equally and doesn’t fix the biggest problem with child care in Canada – the lack of accessible, high-quality spots for all children.
Leaving no one behind
Canadians have an opportunity to elect a government that prioritizes pay equity, has a concrete plan to address harassment and gender-based violence, expands and funds universal and affordable child care, and actively puts women first.