Five Key Questions to Ask Federal Party Leaders

Kofi Annan once said, “There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.”

Post-WoDA2015-Li_Cvr_FAIn Canada, the struggle to realize equal rights for women and girls is far from over. Our gender pay gap is twice the global average; almost 1,200 Indigenous women are reported as missing or murdered; one in three Canadian women will experience violence in their lifetime; and funding for women’s research and advocacy groups has largely been eliminated.

With Election Day looming, these issues should be top of mind. Yet substantive policy discussion on women’s rights and equality has been lacking in national election debates. That is unacceptable.

Here are five key questions for our federal party leaders:

  1. Canadian women are still not receiving equal pay for work of equal value. The pay gap is even higher for racialized women. How will your government show leadership and address the gender pay gap federally?
  2. Indigenous women’s lives matter. A national, public inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women will help to bring much-needed focus on this crisis and ensure an effective and coordinated response. Will your government launch an inquiry?
  3. Currently, Canada has no comprehensive national plan or strategy to deal with violence against women. Without a plan, responses are largely fragmented, and services are often inaccessible or non-existent. Will your government introduce a national strategy to end violence against women?
  4. Women held only 25% of the seats in the last Parliament and remain under-represented on federally-appointed boards. What actions will your government take to increase women’s representation in politics and on boards?
  5. Women’s organizations advocate, research and develop key policies related to women’s rights and equality. They are critical to ensuring that women’s voices are heard in the corridors of power. What steps will your government take to support funding for research and advocacy work?

Cast an informed vote on October 19th. #womenvoteforaction

Suhuyini Abudulai is a member of YWCA Toronto’s Board of Directors and a member of the Association’s Advocacy Advisory Committee.