CHARLOTTETOWN - The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) P.E.I. is calling for more women’s voices in government and more attention to women’s perspectives in public policy development.
CUPE is making the request with the onset of International Women’s Day on March 8.
“2014 is a landmark year for Canada as it is the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference,” said Lori MacKay, President of CUPE PEI. “This conference helped create the political foundation for our country. It is unfortunate that no women were at the table when the 23 men met in 1864, but we have made great strides since then in political life. Women now hold leadership roles at all levels of government, but we are still underrepresented in elected positions.”
MacKay said CUPE applauds the initiative, “A Bold Vision”, which is being organized by P.E.I. women’s groups to mark this important milestone.
“This conference will provide an opportunity for women leaders from across the country to come together to celebrate, support and learn from one another about women’s leadership,” she said.
A feature of the conference will be a daylong session where 23 women discuss their vision for our country for the next 150 years.
“All is not rosy for women when it comes to our political system,” MacKay said. “Citizen disengagement is a huge problem. Many women are reluctant to get involved because party politics doesn’t favour the kind of long-term planning and decision-making needed to improve people’s lives. It is time for a new vision.”
Melissa Bruce, chair of the CUPE P.E.I. Women’s Committee said it’s not that women are better decision-makers than men, but they can bring different and valuable perspectives to the table.
“The recent EI reform is a good example of why we need renewal in our political system. Did decision-makers consider the impact EI changes would have on women?” Bruce asked. “Women are hit harder than men by the new rules because they have heavier family responsibilities, fewer job options, they receive lower benefits and run out of benefits earlier.”