This April 28, the Intersyndicale des femmes will mark their 40th anniversary. More than 500 women from the unions which make up the Intersyndicale will be meeting for this occasion. This meeting reminds us that despite the passage of time, the same demands for women’s rights and equality are still valid and have never been acquired. This meeting also reminds us that women must fight together. Admittedly, the Intersyndicale has waged several battles with the women’s movement over the last forty years, which have shown results in Québec including the one on pay equity or parental rights but vigilance is required.
Despite these victories, it must be pointed out that women are still the subject of systemic discrimination and are still absent from the strategic and decision-making bodies. In fact, they are the first ones to suffer the impacts of the globalization of the economy, the unequal sharing of the wealth and compensation. They are also, more often than not, the first people affected when the government decides to apply austerity measures.
Furthermore, I invite you to look at this information sheet recently produced by the FIQ and which illustrates the impact of the last Leitao budget on the status of women. You will even be able to conclude that the Secrétariat à la condition féminine has seen a reduction of its budget of 41%. The budget for the Council on the Status of Women was reduced by 15%. Lastly, the expenses of the programmes linked to the status of women have undergone cumulative cuts of $7.9 million. These budget choices clearly indicate the government’s vision on matters of gender equality. In this respect, Intersyndicale is demanding loud and clear that the government come up with analysis tools and grids which show the differentiated effects of the policies on women and on men. Also note that like all the women’s groups in Québec, the parapublic bodies have also suffered significant budget cuts.
As an organization representing a very large majority of women, the FIQ fully subscribes to the Intersyndicale des femmes, a place of union solidarity for the common good of women. We need this movement more than ever to uphold the demands of women at work and in their daily lives, and we remind you that this issue is far from being over.
The 40 years of the Intersyndical des femmes is also proof that women can show exemplary solidarity beyond the battles between labour organizations.