NDP Mark International Women’s Day With call on Pallister Government To Foster a More Equitable Workplace Environment for Women

The Pallister government must work to close the wage gap, increase workplace equality, create more affordable child-care spaces and ensure equal access to the essential medicine Mifegymiso for all women, NDP MLA Nahanni Fontaine said today in marking International Women’s Day.

“We call upon the Pallister government to foster through words and actions a more equitable workplace environment for women in Manitoba,” Fontaine said. “This starts by ensuring women are offered the training and access to jobs that will bring them in line with average salaries for men and have good-quality publicly funded child care so they can fully participate in the economy.”

According to a UN human rights report, Canadian women working full time earned 74 cents for every dollar men earned in 2014. While every woman’s situation is different, there are some common reasons for the wage gap – reasons the government can and should address, Fontaine said.

A high percentage of women work part-time because of the lack of affordable child care, Fontaine noted. Part-time workers tend to be less likely to be considered for promotions and extra training than full-time employees, Fontaine added.

The wage gap extends to university graduates, not just part-time workers, according to the Canadian Women’s Foundation. In 2008, Canadian women with undergraduate degrees earned an average of $62,800 a year while male graduates earned an average of $91,800, the foundation noted.

“If you look at a woman’s lifetime earnings, these differences add up to a huge difference,” Fontaine said. “This means women have less opportunity to save for retirement and are more likely to slip into poverty in their senior years.”

Fontaine said the Pallister government can address these wage disparities by:

  • Raising the minimum wage;
  • Creating high-quality, publicly funded child care spaces;
  • Establishing a better environment for girls to enter sciences and technology programs which lead to higher paying jobs; and
  • Advocating for more gender equity in the workplace and in boardrooms.

“When women gain full economic equality, everyone benefits,” Fontaine said. “We owe it to future generations to do everything we can to end gender inequality in the workplace.”

Fontaine also called on the government to develop a dispensing and regulation plan for Mifegymiso to ensure that all women have easy access to it at no cost. Up to now, Manitoba has been a leader in keeping essential medicines accessible and affordable for patients in this province, Fontaine noted.

“The Pallister government must support and commit to women and girls' reproductive health by ensuring the abortion pill is fully covered by Manitoba Health and is fully accessible to women across Manitoba” Fontaine said.