Now that the dust has settled, I would like to go back to les déclarations récentes de la présidente du Conseil du statut de la femme, Louise Cordeau. (recent statements of the president of the Conseil du statut de la femme). We were expecting a strong message at her first media appearance which, in the current context, would be a stand on the difficult realities that Québec women of all ages and all origins live with every day. Instead of that, we got this “finding” that gender equality is “almost achieved”.
No one contests the fact that, over the years, thanks to the major efforts of the women’s movement, Québec has installed many tools that ensure the women of Québec equal rights, through laws, policies or programs. But beyond this major progress, the rights are still fragile and setbacks are looming on the horizon.
Sexism is expressed more openly and on a greater scale both in public and in social media. Violence against women is increasing everywhere on the planet and their impoverishment goes hand in hand with the reduction or privatization of public services for which they pay the price. We know that only 10% of sexual assaults are reported and the present rate of female municipal mayors is about 17%. So, we feel that equality is still facing a major challenge.
The FIQ represents 75,000 members and 90% are women. Responsible for the support and care of children, aging parents or a sick loved one; dealing with situations of violence or little means to make ends meet; with little access to work-family balance measures or measures for taking a break, these workers have paid and continue to pay the costs of the austerity measures in the health sector.
There must be feedback on these situations of inequality in all walks of life and, the research and opinions of the Conseil du statut de la femme are invaluable tools for this. They must continue to challenge the government so that its interventions take into account Quebecers’ interests. They must continue to tell women and the population about ongoing inequalities and ways to change things.
The progress of women’s rights is a question of democracy and social justice. Therefore, we expect the new president, Ms. Cordeau, to tell us, as soon as possible, about the main action priorities that she wants to implement, in conjunction with her board of directors, for the months ahead.