Fredericton – On this International Women’s Day, CUPE New Brunswick calls for coordinated action to address women’s inequality in New Brunswick.

“Women are better educated and more active in the paid workforce than ever before, but are still not on equal footing with men,” said Marilyn MacCormack, Chair of the CUPE NB Women’s Committee. “Women experience disadvantages that are interconnected, from lower earnings and higher risk of poverty to bigger share of unpaid care giving and limited access to political power. Then there’s the terrible vulnerability to violence at the hands of men.”

“There are many roadblocks to women’s full participation in economic, social and political life,” explained MacCormack. “Entrenched sexist attitudes show up in the undervaluation of jobs traditionally done by women, not to mention the way things work in career advancement and electoral politics.  Far too many men still view women as possessions to be controlled through verbal, physical and sexual abuse. We need public policies and practices that address all aspects of women’s lives,” she concluded.

“Our provincial government should integrate gender-based analysis in all its work and invite input from the members of the Voices of New Brunswick Women Consensus-Building Forum,” said CUPE NB President Daniel Légère.  “Appointments to this new body were announced just last month by the Minister Responsible for Women’s Equality.”

“We are concerned that some voices may be missing at the table. Where are the organizations representing immigrant women and Aboriginal women living in First Nations communities?  Organized labour was also left out, even though nearly one in three New Brunswick women workers are union members,” added Légère.

“Will the Forum have the independence and the resources necessary to work for change? The Advisory Council on the Status of Women was a rallying force until it was axed three years ago by the Alward government. Critical distance from government is a must, especially given women’s chronic underrepresentation in our Legislative Assembly.  In this election year, candidates and parties will be questioned about their commitment to action on women’s equality concerns,” he concluded.