31 MAY 2013
The Green Party is calling for the new women’s rights entity that the government will announce today, to be autonomous and adequately funded to carry out its mandate.
“The inequalities experienced by women in New Brunswick cannot be remedied without strategic intervention in a number of areas including income inequality, access to childcare, domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Ayesha Ali, the Green Party's Advocate for the Status of Women. “Appropriate allocation of resources to tackle all of these problems must be a priority for any new entity on women’s issues,” said Ms. Ali.
"The new entity to champion women’s rights must have the independence and freedom to spend its funds, hire its own personnel, set its agenda, and speak publicly," said David Coon, Green Party Leader. "It is its relationship with women which will give it legitimacy and value, so it must not be created to work exclusively with government," said Coon.
The Green Party wants Justice Minister Marie-Claude Blais to address the following questions:
- Who will make the definitive selection of members, following what criteria?
- Will the entity report to the Legislature?
- Will it be independent with the mandate to speak directly to the public and media?
- Will its mandate and independence be protected by legislation?
- Will it have control of its budget, hire its own staff, and set its agenda?
- Will it be able to meet without government or minister's representatives?
- Will it be able to organize public events and hold grassroots consultations?
On average, New Brunswick women earn 82 cents to the $1 that their male counterparts earn. Additionally, women’s jobs relative to men's jobs with the same value are often underpaid. Not only do these inequalities povertize women, they can have dramatic effects on women in abusive relationships where income inequality feeds a woman's dependence upon her abuser.
As of 2010, there were licensed child care spaces for only 21% of children aged 12 and under. This situation undermines New Brunswick economically as many women are not given the opportunity to work.
The Green Party's Advocate for Women noted that New Brunswick is home to two of the five cities in Canada with the highest rates of sexual assault; Saint John and Fredericton, based on the incident reports to police.