President’s Message: International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day: March 8th

This Friday (March 8th) marks International Women’s Day, when we take time to celebrate the contributions that women have made to the world, and within the workforce. And while we have made great strides in the struggle for women’s equality, there is still plenty of work to be done.

As a woman in a leadership role, I can say with great certainty there are many barriers and inequalities facing Canadian women today: women working full-time earn on average 71 cents for every dollar earned by men, bringing home an average of $31,100 per year, compared to $45,200 for men. Beyond these simple financial inequalities, female caregivers perform almost twice the hours of unpaid work as men, live in a country with the lowest child care access rates in the industrialized world, and are far more likely to face negative consequences in the workplace because of their caregiving responsibilities.

Recent changes to Canada’s Employment Insurance rules, which mean employees must work between 420 to 700 hours, only serve to exacerbate these inequalities. Statistics show that women and young people in particular are most affected by the dropping eligibility rates for EI, which make it harder for people working in part-time positions to qualify for the program, even if they have paid into the fund. This simply isn’t right.

The NSGEU proudly represents almost 30,000 members who provide valuable public services throughout Nova Scotia – and 74 per cent of those members are women. These members are also mothers, daughters, sisters and aunts, and they deserve the same treatment and respect provided to their male counterparts.

So, this Friday, as a sign of solidarity on International Women’s Day, please take a moment to sign the petition for fair Employment Insurance:

In solidarity,

NSGEU President Joan Jessome


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