NDP Critic for Women and Gender Equality Lindsay Mathyssen made the following statement on Persons Day:
LONDON – Ninety-one years ago, the Famous Five, Emily Murphy, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby, Nellie McClung, and Henrietta Muir Edwards led a fight for gender equality in Canada with a victory in the Persons Case.
In 1929, for the first time, women were recognized as legal persons in Canada.
While this landmark decision must be celebrated, we should never forget that it wasn’t until much later that Black women, women of colour, and Indigenous women could share in this victory.
Women are still underrepresented in politics across the country, paid less then their male counterparts for work of equal value, are denied access to affordable childcare, are more likely to encounter violence because of their gender, are more likely to struggle with poverty and as we have seen throughout this pandemic, are disproportionately impacted by economic insecurity. So, while we celebrate the accomplishments of the Famous Five, let’s also reflect on how far we still have to go.
For decades, Liberal and Conservative governments have failed to act on gender equality. And the current Liberal government has let women down. They talk a good game, but they’ve failed to follow through with the solutions that are needed right now.
As long as Indigenous women are over-represented in prisons, as long as older women are trapped in poverty, as long as all women are paid less than men at work, and as long as women still have to fear violence and harassment, our work remains unfinished.
New Democrats stand against all forms of discrimination and we will keep pushing for those – universal, affordable childcare, coverage for contraceptives and abortion, and investments to implement solutions on pay equity and end violence against women.