Category Archives: Women

How “inspiring” is Trudeau’s “feminism”?

by Barry Weisleder
Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised the tens of thousands of people who participated in the Women’s March across Canada, including over 60,000 in Toronto, on January 21.

“Congratulations to the women and men across Canada who came out yesterday to support women’s rights. You keep your government inspired,” Trudeau wrote on Twitter. Continue reading How “inspiring” is Trudeau’s “feminism”?

Gender Wage Parity – more than a century away

It will take 118 years to close the wage gap between women and men if present trends in pay inequity persist, the World Economic Forum predicts.
The global pay gap between the sexes narrowed by a mere 3 per cent over the past decade, visibly stalling after 2009–10, according to the forum’s annual Global Gender Gap report.

The slow progress means women are only now earning what men earned nearly a decade ago: $11,000 on average, while men’s average pay has nearly doubled to $21,000 worldwide.

The report, which also looks at women’s progress in education, health and political empowerment, found Canada ranked 30th, and the United States was 28th out of the 145 countries surveyed. Syria, Pakistan and Yemen occupied the bottom of the list.

Women now outnumber men in universities in 100 of the countries surveyed, yet few of them hold the kind of skilled or leadership roles that come with bigger pay cheques.

Why inequality? Just ask yourself this: where does the money go that corporations save by not paying equal wages to women?

On the 104th Anniversary of IWD – For Feminism and Socialism!

A Socialist International women’s conference in Copenhagen in 1910 launched International Women’s Day globally in 1911. Trotskyist parties, including the predecessor organization of Socialist Action / Ligue pour l’Action socialiste in the Canadian state, re-launched the modern IWD in 1978. For good reason.

Women’s oppression is rooted in the capitalist system. As with heterosexism, racism, environmental destruction and war, capitalism profits from discrimination, dispossession and plunder.

Continue reading On the 104th Anniversary of IWD – For Feminism and Socialism!

NDP Childcare Plan – a step forward

Thomas Mulcair, Nathan CullenThough federal New Democratic Party Leader Tom Mulcair rules out hiking taxes on corporations and the super-rich, and promotes investment in climate-wrecking fossil fuels and pipelines, the party’s campaign for a cross-country child care plan is a breath of fresh air.
Stealing a march on the ruling Conservatives and the third party Liberals, the labour-based NDP Official Opposition launched its election platform, more than a year before the anticipated 2015 vote. It did so with a pledge to create one million $15-a-day child care spaces across the country within eight years.
While the time frame resembles the agonizing pace recently proposed by Mulcair for raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour (i.e. by the year 2018), it has the merit of putting child care back at the top of the political agenda.
It also represents a step away from years of retrenchment and towards the expansion of public services.
BuimVSnIAAAnuuC.jpg largeThe NDP plan depends on partnership with the provinces. Ottawa would fund 370,000 child care spaces at a federal cost of $1.87 billion. The annual cost to create or maintain one million affordable spaces would rise to more than $5 billion by 2023 when the plan is fully implemented.
The provinces would be responsible for 40 per cent of the program’s costs. Mulcair points out that some provinces like Ontario, which has two years of full-day kindergarten, are already spending heavily in early childhood education and care. The aim, which may miss-fire on this point, is to have most provinces signed on to the program.
The prospect of success is a testament to the demands of millions of working parents who clamour for economic relief. While workers’ incomes have been frozen or shrinking for decades, the cost of living continues to rise. Toronto parents can pay up to $2000 a month for child care with average costs eating up more than 18 per cent of average Canadian family income. A $15 a day, or $300 a month plan would be a real boon. Quebec now provides $7 per day childcare.
Across Canada there are licensed child-care spaces for just 22.5 per cent of children under age 5 at a time when more than 73 per cent of young mothers are working.
After the Conservatives won the 2005 federal election, Prime Minister Stephen Harper scrapped a Liberal child care plan, which the Liberals spent 13 years discussing, and replaced it with a $100 monthly payout for parents with young children. In late October, under mounting pressure from the NDP, Harper said his government will increase the benefit next Spring to $160 a month – which is still far short of the private costs most parents face. A public plan could meet the social need, and do so at a higher standard of care.
The question is, assuming there is broad provincial agreement, how would Mulcair fund the federal share of the program he proposes. And how would he meet similarly urgent needs in the areas of education, health care, social housing, public transportation, and conversion to a green energy system?
There is no indication that Mulcair is prepared to cut the military budget, make industrial polluters clean up their mess, and steeply tax big business and the banks – all of which would be modest but necessary steps towards a Workers’ Agenda.
— BW