Women’s equity needs benchmarks

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that Canada will compete for a seat on the United Nations Security Council in five years.

Sheila Malcolmson, the Member of Parliament for Nanaimo-Ladysmith and the NDP’s Status of Women spokesperson, made the following statement from the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women:

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that Canada will compete for a seat on the United Nations Security Council in five years. This is a step in the right direction, and we support the Liberal Government’s intention to restore constructive relations with the United Nations and become a champion for gender equality and women’s rights.

As I witnessed this morning’s announcement, however, I was struck by the work that remains to be done here in Nanaimo-Ladysmith and throughout our country. I applaud the Prime Minister’s intention to promote peace, security and stability, to protect vulnerable populations, to fight for gender equity, and to partner with the frontline organizations that prevent violence. And I want the government to do all these things at home in Canada, as well as on the world stage.

It is more clear than ever, as I attend the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women this week, that this work must start with a comprehensive national action plan to end violence against women. This plan must have dedicated funding attached and clear benchmarks for success so we can immediately start to help women who are most vulnerable to violence, including Indigenous women.

We need to ensure that no woman is ever turned away from a domestic violence shelter. This includes expanding access to transition resources, and to increase women’s financial security by taking real steps toward addressing the shameful wage gap that still exists between men and women.

The NDP’s motion to lock in pay equity, with equal pay for work of equal value, will result in solutions and legislation being voted on in the House of Commons long before UN member states decide whether Canada will be included on the Security Council. Restoring Canada’s reputation on the world stage starts with taking action and getting results on gender equality here at home. And it might help Canada win that Security Council seat.”