International Women’s Day: Women belong at the table

Women make up about 60 per cent of PSAC’s membership, and International Women’s Day is an important opportunity to mark the ground-breaking advances PSAC has already made in pay equity; the first-ever collective agreement clause providing sexual harassment protection; paid maternity and parental leave; same sex benefits; domestic violence leave and much more. 

Even with these important gains, 1.5 million women continue to live in poverty in Canada, gender-based violence has increased in recent years, and women continue to be the primary caregivers at home and women’s representation in the workforce has suffered immensely. The negative impacts increase exponentially when identities such as BIPOC, people living with disabilities, trans and members of the LGBTQ2+ community intersect. To truly achieve gender justice, we have lots left to change. 

PSAC struck the Gender Equity Task Force to engage in critical discussions around gender equity with an intersectional lens. The Task Force was charged with examining women’s representation in all leadership bodies within our union, and developing recommendations to increase women’s participation throughout PSAC, including finding ways to eliminate the systemic barriers women face getting more involved in bargaining conferences and at the table. 

Bargaining is one of labour’s strongest opportunities to challenge inequality and create lasting change in our workplaces. In fact, most PSAC members across the country are currently at the table with the employer, fighting for decent working conditions, equity and gender-based rights. 

Our priorities to improve equity and inclusion in bargaining with 165,000 PSAC members are: 

  • Securing fair wages that keep up with the rising cost of living;  

  • Strengthening parental leave; 

  • Increasing family-related leave time and making sure members have more flexibility using it; 

  • Achieving better work life balance with strong remote work provisions and the right to disconnect; 

  • Making our collective agreements more inclusive with gender-neutral language; 

  • Addressing violence and harassment by clarifying the language on sexual harassment; and 

  • Introducing mandatory training on anti-oppression, discrimination, harassment and violence using an intersectional approach. 

By strengthening collective agreements at the bargaining table, PSAC can continue the essential work of eliminating inequities and getting more women where they belong, at the table. 

March 4, 2022