March 8, 2018

International Women’s Day 2018

With the framing of Budget 2018 as the first-ever “Gender Budget,” gender equity is on the federal radar for 2018. Students have always been at the forefront of the fight for gender equity and, this year, we have seen several victories.

After tirelessly championing the fight for legislation to combat sexual violence on campuses, and winning in four provinces, students have won in the form of a National Framework to Address Gender-Based Violence at Post-Secondary Institutions. Students will fight hard to ensure our voices are front and centre in the development of this Framework. In addition, students have been involved in consultations for the Status of Women initiative to collect unique data on campus sexual violence, at the national level.

Despite these victories, however, students must continue to mobilize in our efforts to achieve accessible public post-secondary education. As long as this government fails to adequately address the crisis in post-secondary education, it will leave women behind.

Today, women account for 60% of Canada Student Loan recipients. The burden of student loan debt is amplified for women, due to the gender wage gap and the over-prevalence of women in precarious work. Reliance on student loans is further intensified for women from marginalized communities, such as racialized women, Indigenous women, women with disabilities and trans women, further demonstrating the disproportionately detrimental effects of an inherently patriarchal system on women.

It is not enough for the federal government to express a commitment to gender equity, if it continues failing to make meaningful investments in systemic changes that can make it a reality.

Student action works. This International Women’s Day, students celebrate our victories thus far and reaffirm our commitment to achieving gender equity and gender justice for women across Canada.

 

Jade Peek

National Women’s Representative