Violence and Pay Equity (Janice Gray)

On December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, we once again pay tribute to the 14 female students massacred in 1989 at L’école Polytechnique in Montreal. Even as the year 2012 comes to a close 23 years later, this day still holds enormous significance, not only in honour of the lives that were tragically cut short, but also because violence against women is still a pressing issue. Although great strides have been made in promoting equality between the sexes, women are still being victimized, even in developed countries such as Canada. While this is a complex issue that is not easily resolved, the link between violence and economic inequality cannot be ignored. Women still make up the majority of the Canadian poor, partly because they still make less money than men. Poverty makes women vulnerable, which significantly increases the risk of victimization. Likewise, it makes it harder for women to leave abusive relationships since they often have to depend on a partner for financial security, which is evidenced by the fact that the poverty rate among single mothers is the highest among all family types. There are several reasons why women’s incomes are lower than men’s; however, studies have determined that it is mainly due to gender discrimination. Jobs predominantly held by women have long been undervalued and are often underpaid as a result. That is why the government must ensure that pay equity is appropriately implemented in the parapublic sector and why a law covering the private sector is so essential. It’s not just a question of justice, but also of survival.

Janice Gray

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