Despite substantial national and international measures, few nations offer women equal access to education, health, equality of economic opportunity, income, job placement and political empowerment. Women are unprotected against rape and honour killing.

On the world stage, Canada is at position #16, behind many of the Scandinavian countries, France, Germany, New Zealand and Nicaragua. And at the shameful end is war-torn Yemen – trailing Pakistan, Syria, Chad, Iran and Mali. Only four of 135 nations have achieved gender equality: Costa Rica, Cuba, Sweden, and Norway. World wide, the gender gap has narrowed, but it might take another 100 years for women to be on even footing.

Gender discrimination has created a highly debilitating stigma that leads to the detriment of women and society. Women are under-represented among upper income earners. They are segregated by occupation and marginalized if they are women of colour and by age. For women raising children alone, they bear tremendous poverty rates.

Startling Canadian statistics:

  • The poverty rate for women of colour is 37% and for aboriginal women 43%
  • Women in couples with children under 16 had median incomes that were only 48 per cent of their male partners. Their median incomes were $13,153.
  • Women aged 45-64 made only 51 per cent of their male counterparts. Their median after-tax income was only $14,779. As retirement income is a function of lifetime earnings, women’s low income in this age group means they will be at great risk of poverty in retirement.
  • Women in the Atlantic provinces had the lowest incomes in Canada. Their median after-tax income was $11,235.
  • Thirty-five per cent of Canadian women have not completed high school and 72 per cent of these women had median after-tax incomes under $13,786. (Stats by Centre for Social Justice)

Far beyond income inequalities, in some countries, women:

  • have no abortion rights
  • forbidden to drive
  • have clothing requirements
  • not allowed to divorce
  • have reduced access to education
  • have no right to travel
  • are victims of violence
  • have no custody rights
  • experience sexual domination and mutilation
  • are subject to female infanticide

Gender equality is a moral and an economic necessity.

 

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