March 8th is International Women's Day

 

Safety & Respect for All Women - Celebrating our victories and continuing the fight for equality

On International Women’s Day 2016, PSAC invites our members to celebrate our many victories and to continue the fight for equality for all women.

A few short weeks after being elected, the Trudeau government announced the launch of a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. And as it should, the process is starting with consultations with families and organizations that represent Aboriginal women.

This decision comes on the heels years of struggle by Indigenous women, with the continued support of PSAC members.

It also follows in the wake of strong criticism of the Canadian government by the United Nations. It is thanks to the efforts of the Native Women’s Association of Canada and the Feminist Alliance for International Action that the United Nations was made aware of the extent of the violence against Aboriginal women and the federal government’s failure to act.

It is encouraging to see the government taking concrete action so quickly and to learn that it intends to implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We will make sure it honours these commitments.

PSAC Works for Women

For 50 years now, our union has been fighting to defend the rights of women workers. At the bargaining table, in the courts and through our mobilization efforts, we have won victories that have benefited all of our members.

Through maternity, parental and family-related leaves, on-site daycare, pay equity, as well as benefits and sick leave that meet our members’ needs, PSAC works for women.

These gains have brought greater safety and security to women in their workplaces. Gender discrimination and sexual harassment, racism, homophobia and discrimination against women with disabilities are expressly prohibited.

In a number of workplaces, measures have been implemented to promote employment equity and diversity. And we endeavour to support victims of discrimination and harassment everywhere in order to prevent future incidents.

According to a major survey by the Canadian Labour Congress, more than one in three women workers (37%) will be subjected to domestic violence during her lifetime. Each year, seven per cent of women workers are victims of domestic violence.

Approximately 100,000 of PSAC’s members are women, which means 7,000 of them likely have experienced domestic violence. In half of these cases, the impact of the abuse extends to the workplace, with many negative consequences, including stress, lateness for work and decreased productivity. In eight per cent of cases a woman loses her job as a result of an abusive relationship.

This survey brought to light a serious situation that is more widespread than we ever suspected. In December, PSAC organized a women’s forum on domestic violence at work in order to provide members, elected officials and staff with an opportunity to discuss possible courses of action.

As a follow-up to the forum, PSAC will:

  • Develop workshops to be offered at Regional Women’s Conferences in 2016, the National Women’s Conference and the National Equity Conferences in March 2017.
  • Put together a training course to help our union better support victims of domestic violence.
  • Investigate the various provisions we could negotiate, such as paid leave for dealing with the medical, psychological and legal impacts of domestic violence.
  • Lobby for amendments to occupational health and safety legislation to force the employer to better protect women at work from abusers.

We will also continue to work with the Canadian Labour Congress on this issue as well as with the Canadian Network of Women’s Shelters and Transition Houses and the international trade union delegation that intervenes with the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women each year.

The implementation of a universal child care system is one of the essential conditions for ensuring full equality for women.

For a number of years PSAC has been working with the Canadian Labour Congress, the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada and other provincial partners to promote an affordable, universal, non-profit child care system. We worked hard to make this an issue in the recent federal election.

In collaboration with our coalition partners, PSAC is promoting a “Shared framework for building an early childhood education and care system for all.”

With the election of a majority Liberal government, there is now renewed hope that we can move ahead on our agenda. The federal government has started consultations as a first step toward “delivering affordable, flexible and fully inclusive child care.”

We invite all PSAC members to lobby their federal, provincial, territorial or Aboriginal governments with this new child care platform. In 2016, make sure that you have personally met your MP and your MPP.

Let them know that as a PSAC member and one of their constituents, you personally support the call for a comprehensive, affordable, quality child care system everywhere across the country.

Please contact your regional office and let them know that you are interested in learning how you can get involved in this important struggle.

Because we are all affected by the lack of quality child care.

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