December 4, 2018
Fredericton (GNB) - The New Brunswick Women’s Council has provided the government with advice based on issues relevant to women’s equality that were addressed in the throne speech and ensuing discussions in the legislative assembly.
“We were disappointed that women’s equality was not specifically addressed in the speech,” said Jody Dallaire, council co-chair. “Despite this, several issues relevant to women’s equality were raised in the speech and subsequent activity in legislative assembly and the council has provided advice to government in response.”
The council advised that it was encouraged to see that government intends to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and to address homecare, healthcare (including mental health), and poverty reduction.
The council also welcomed commitments to greater collaboration in the legislative assembly, including an all-party interactive pre-budget process. The council recommended that government incorporate gender-based budgeting into its budget process with the goal of ensuring that the budget is gender-responsive.
The council also flagged areas of concern for government, including:
- wage increases for early childhood educators;
- pay equity in the private sector;
- gender-based analysis in work on homelessness; and
- expanding reproductive health services, including both midwifery and abortion with attention paid to increasing regional access.
The council also cautioned government on its use of the concept of common sense.
“Common sense has been used to defend a status quo that disenfranchised populations. It was common sense, after all, that women did not need to vote or earn the same wages as men who performed the same work as them,” said council co-chair Jennifer Richard. “Because of historical precedent and ongoing marginalization, certain demographics of society – including women, those who are racialized, disabled, living in poverty, linguistic minorities, LGBTQ2S+ and more – may interpret references to “common sense” as a signal that the unique challenges they face will not be taken into account or that their legitimate needs will be dismissed as frivolous requests.”
The New Brunswick Women’s Council is an independent advisory body on women’s equality issues.
Media contact: Beth Lyons, Executive Director, New Brunswick Women’s Council, 506-462-5142 [email protected]