Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

March 06, 2008 15:00 ET

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY, MARCH 8 - ECONOMIC EQUALITY FOR WOMEN

Attention: Assignment Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO--(Marketwire - March 6, 2008) - A hundred years ago on March 8, 1908 fifteen thousand immigrant women garment workers marched through the streets of New York demanding higher pay, shorter work hours, women's right to vote and an end to child labour. Because of these courageous foremothers March 8th is now celebrated as an international day to celebrate women's achievements and to reaffirm our commitment to equality for all women in every part of our lives.

"Women's struggles for equality have produced nothing less than a social revolution, but economic progress has been continually thwarted at every turn by federal and provincial governments," said Irene harris, OFL Secretary-Treasurer. "In good times and bad, women have been told to wait. Nothing has been given to women in their struggle for equality. We have fought hard through generations for each and every gain we have made."

"In the two years since his election Prime Minister Stephen Harper has done more damage to women's equality than any other Prime Minister in recent memory. His government cancelled the national child care agreements; eliminated funding to the Court Challenges Program; closed Status of Women Canada offices, eliminated funding to women's groups for research and advocacy; refused to implement the recommendations of the Federal Pay Equity Task Force," Harris said. "And even eliminated the word "equality" from the mandate of the Status of Women."

The OFL urges Ontario voters, particularly women, to recognize the urgency of defeating the Harper Conservative agenda in the next election.

The OFL's recent Convention in November 2007 highlighted the stagnant state of progress for women on the economic equality front. Almost every part of women's lives are undervalued, underpaid and at risk.

Pay equity has been Ontario law for 20 years. Despite that, 100,000 women who work in child care, women's shelters and children services are owed millions of dollars in unpaid pay equity adjustments.

Working women and their families still scramble for public child care. Only 12% of Ontario children have access to a licensed early learning and child care program. Worse yet, foreign-owned 'Big Box' stores are trying to take over local child care as they have in Australia. Your child's care could wind up on the stock market as a profit-maker in a stock broker's portfolio.

Violence continues to be a day to day reality for women and children - in our homes, at work and in our communities.

OFL Convention delegates committed to continue to strengthen collective agreements, increase workers' education, organize and mobilize to remove legal barriers women face to unionization and continue our work in coalition with women's equality-seeking groups for effective government action to ensure women's social and economic equality.

"On International Women's Day we will be campaigning across Ontario on issues of women's equality," said Irene Harris, OFL officer responsible for women's issues. "We will be concentrating our campaigns, on building public child care and equal pay for work of equal value. In the coming months we will broaden our work to include removing legislative barriers to women's right to join a union and continuing the actions needed to end violence against women."

"On International Women's Day we celebrate our hard won gains and we also reaffirm our commitment to build on our historic struggles for a society that ensures economic and social equality for all women," said Irene Harris, Secretary-Treasurer , Ontario Federation of Labour.

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/For further information: Irene Harris, OFL Secretary-Treasurer
416.347.0454 (cellular)/ IN: LABOUR, MEDIA, POLITICS, OTHER

Contact Information

  • Dana Boettger, OFL Communications
    Primary Phone: 416-441-2731 ext. 665
    Secondary Phone: 416-443-7665