International Women's Day - continuing the fight for equality: NUPGE | National Union of Public and General Employees

International Women's Day - continuing the fight for equality: NUPGE

“If we are going to improve the quality of women’s lives and stop the growing income inequality that exists in this country, we have to ensure that women earn equal pay for equal work.” — James Clancy, NUPGE National President

Ottawa (08 March 2016) —  In 1911, Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland observed the first International Women’s Day on March 19.  Canada began celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8, 1977, following the proclamation by the United Nations General Assembly. Since that date, International Women’s Day has been a day to recognize women’s rights and international peace. 

100th anniversary of women's right to vote in Canada

This year marks a significant milestone in Canadian women’s rights — 2016 is the 100th anniversary of women’s first right to vote in Canada. For the last century, Canadian women have worked and fought to obtain equity for women and girls in Canada and internationally.  And those that push the hardest are often union women and our sisters from women’s organizations across Canada. 

On March 8, the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) would like to say thank you to these strong sisters and to women everywhere for working hard to ensure women’s rights are not forgotten.

Gender wage gap hurts women's equality

One of the biggest deterrents for women’s equality is the gender wage gap.  In Canada, on average women working full-time earn 72% of what men earn. The gap is even higher for Indigenous women, racialized women, immigrant women and women with disabilities. 

One of the reasons for the gap in pay is the different occupations that men and women work in.  Male-dominated occupations usually have much higher wages.  A glaring example of this is cited in a recent report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Oxfam entitled Making Women Count: the unequal economics of women’s work. The report notes that a truck driver (a male- dominated occupation) earns an annual wage of $45,417. Whereas, an early childhood educator (a female-dominated occupation) earns an annual wage of $25,334.

Unions and women's organizations continue fighting for equal pay

“Unions and women’s organizations have worked for decades to close the gender pay gap, yet as we celebrate International Women’s Day 2016, the gap persists and has actually increased since 2009,” states James Clancy, President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).  “If we are going to improve the quality of women’s lives and stop the growing income inequality that exists in this country, we have to ensure that women earn equal pay for equal work.”

NUPGE 

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE