Each October 18, Canada celebrates Persons Day. This year marks 70 years since women were declared persons under the constitution and some women gained the right to be appointed to public office including the Senate of Canada.
Although women’s participation in political life has grown since then, Canada continues to lag behind most OECD countries for number of women in parliament. This exclusion of women in decision-making positions has an impact on women’s equality.
We must continue to campaign for the rights of women in society and reject the attacks on longstanding wins that women and other equity-seeking groups have gained in this country. Critical issues such as reproductive rights, child care programs, pay equity and paid domestic violence leave risk being rolled back through the rise of conservative governments. Using the lens of intersectionality, we can see that loss of these rights can compound barriers for women of colour, indigenous women, trans women and women with disabilities.
Unifor is hard at work mobilizing our members to ensure that we continue to see progress for women and other equity-seeking groups and continue to build on the gains of the last 70 years.
The legal inclusion of women as persons is an empty victory if it does not come with the structural framework needed to achieve equity. Electing progressive governments is key to this goal.