October 22, 2018
Fredericton – In anticipation of the opening of the first session of the 59th Legislature, the New Brunswick Women’s Council has provided advice to the leaders of all parties that will be represented in the legislative assembly.
“The council is eager for the forward momentum on women’s equality to continue in the upcoming legislative session,” said council co-chair Jody Dallaire. “It is essential that leaders seek and include women’s perspectives in decision-making and take action to address persistent and emerging inequality.”
In the advice it provided, the council shared its legislated objectives and highlighted areas where it would be monitoring for progress, including:
• increasing wages for workers in the childcare sector;
• increasing wages and improving working conditions for homecare workers;
• measures to advance pay equity in the private sector;
• implementation of and appropriate funding for the Framework for Action on Sexual Violence;
• expanding use of gender-based analysis (GBA+) in government decision-making and increased sharing of information with the public on government’s use of and findings from GBA+; and
• improved access to sexual and reproductive health services – including midwifery, abortion care, and access to sexual assault nurse examiners – in all regions of the province.
The council advised that it would be incorporating the findings from its public engagement initiative, Resonate, into its recommendations and awareness raising work. Through Resonate, the council heard from more than 1 300 New Brunswick women and identified five interconnected priority issues areas: health; accessing and providing care; economic security and employment; safety and violence; and gender inequality and discrimination. In advance of the election, the council held a forum with political party leaders on these priority areas that focused on the stories women shared with the council.
The council also emphasized the need for that the upcoming legislative session to be rooted in respect, collaboration, and a commitment to advancing policy that accounts for the experiences of women as well as other groups of persons who are marginalized because of their identity or lived experience. As a concrete measure to support this, the council encouraged the leaders to consider forming an all parties’ women’s caucus.
“With a record high number of women elected to the legislative assembly and each party counting at least one woman in its caucus, this is an excellent opportunity for such an endeavor,” said council co-chair Jennifer Richard. “While all members of the legislative assembly can take action on gender-based inequality, we believe there is value in creating a space where all the women members can discuss experiences and join in solidarity with one another as a minority within the legislative assembly.”
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]