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International Women’s Day challenges wage inequality, austerity agenda

International Women's DayLynne Fernandez writes, “Women’s rights, status and voice continue to be limited. Certainly the data on wage inequality are unequivocal. Women’s income remains stubbornly less than men’s: men with a high-school diploma earned on average $975,000 in the 20-year period between 1991 and 2010; women earned $525,000. So in 20 years, women lost $450,000! In the same period men with a bachelor’s degree earned $1,707,000 while women earned $973,000 — a loss of $734,000.”

She adds, “By convincing Canadians that the only way to nurture economic growth is to cut taxes and shrink government spending, austerity then demonizes public-sector workers as overpaid and underworked. …Plainly stated, austerity is gendered. It is gendered because by attacking the public sector, austerity breaches the very ground where women have made the most gains — through pay-equity legislation and policies that apply to the public sector. It is gendered because it focuses on public-sector workers where the number of unionized women workers is more than double men’s.”

Fernandez concludes, “In most Canadian cities women will be celebrating and organizing on this International Women’s Day and many will be speaking out against proposed policy changes unfolding across Canada that will condemn more women to the growing low-wage economy.”

Council of Canadians supporters and chapter activists are encouraged to participate in International Women’s Day actions in their community. To see a listing of International Women’s Day events across the country, please see here.

To read Council of Canadians International Women’s Day messages over the past years, please see 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009.