Today, West Coast LEAF released its 6th annual report card on women’s rights in BC.
Two weeks ago, the TV quiz show Jeopardy! included a category called “What Women Want.” While the makers of Jeopardy! would have us believe that all women want is a good pair of jeans and some help with the vacuuming, West Coast LEAF’s CEDAW Report Card details how well the BC government is measuring up on the things women really want: access to justice, economic security, affordable housing and child care, and safety for all. These are the building blocks of a healthy society, and unfortunately, BC is failing to deliver.
For the first time, BC received a failing grade this year for its failure to provide meaningful access to child care. BC is the second most expensive province in the country for obtaining child care, and ranks lowest in the country for labour market participation of women with children aged 0-12. Access to affordable, quality child care would directly improve a number of areas highlighted in our report card: it would provide opportunities for women to earn income, provide for their families’ basic needs, including nutritious food and safe housing, and allow women to leave abusive relationships without fear of falling into poverty.
What women want isn’t a $50 tax credit to put towards their monthly child care costs or a tiny rent supplement to offset the high price of housing. Women want fair and equal access to publicly funded services that allow them and their children to live with dignity, security, and safety. Unfortunately, the poor grades the government has received on this year’s CEDAW Report Card show they are failing BC women.
The CEDAW Report Card is West Coast LEAF’s annual assessment of how well BC is measuring up on international legal standards of women’s equality set out in the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
The full report card can be downloaded from our website.