Should we scrap Quebec’s Conseil du statut de la femme?
The CSF (Conseil du statut de la femme – Council on the Status of Women) was created in 1973 to improve the status of women in Quebec. Later came the position of Ministre déléguée à la condition feminine (Minister responsible for the Status of Women), and then the Secrétariat à la condition feminine (Secretariat for the Status of Women). With time, the expression “Gender equality” began coming up regularly in demands made by women and especially by feminists. Yesterday, on March 7, the Collectif du 8 mars (8th March Committee), headed by the FFQ (Fédération des femmes du Québec – Quebec Women’s Federation), called on the premier to create a Department of Women’s Status, saying that women were still suffering too much discrimination and that equality was far from complete. They also wanted a bigger budget for groups that promote women’s rights, in addition to making other demands (http://www.ffq.qc.ca/2013/03/une-rencontre-historique-menottee-par-les-p... ). If we are to believe what the media in general tell us, women are still in a dire situation. But just what is the situation of Quebec women and men in 2013?
Here are a few points to think over:
1-Women hold over 58% of all positions in the provincial civil service, yet more women are still being hired to comply with employment equity legislation.
2-Women make up 53% of all executives in government corporations. The proportion is over 40% in 21 of the 22 corporations, and over 60% in 6, yet it’s felt that more has to be done because they should be at least 50% of the total everywhere.
3-Girls are in the majority in almost all university faculties and the dropout rate of boys is much higher than that of girls, but there continue to be programs whose exclusive aim is to encourage girls to pursue higher education (Hats off to you! Girls and sciences, an electrifying duo, etc.)
4-When a couple separates, the man often has much trouble getting joint custody of the children, who are thus deprived of a relationship with their father.
5-Men suffer as much conjugal violence as women do, yet this reality continues to be denied, and we’re encouraged to think only women suffer. Politicians and the media seem to feel all complaints about conjugal violence are valid, yet a large proportion of them never lead to any conviction.
6-Because of the way alimony payments are calculated, many payers are often penalized and end up in poverty.
7-Men greatly exceed women among the homeless.
8-The suicide rate is 4 times higher among men than among women.
9-The government pays out $51 million in funding per year to community organizations that assist or promote women’s rights and $3 million to those that help men, even though men have many needs that aren’t being met.
10-The media run advertisements that are degrading to men because men are the only group that no law specifically protects.
11-There are at least 8 days for women, as well as the entire month of October, whereas the only day that exists for men isn’t observed by our governments.
Given all this, we should seriously rethink the usefulness of the CSF and the usefulness of other organizations and structures that share the same goals. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to replace these organizations with a Conseil québécois du statut des humains (Quebec Council on the Status of Humans), to be composed of equal numbers of men and women? In the spring of 2012, Lise Ravary, who is nonetheless a feminist, was already suggesting that the CSF be scrapped http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/lise-ravary/ffq-femmes-quebec_b_1328066.... . In addition, when Réseau Liberté Québec surveyed its members, 91% of them were in favour of doing away with the CSF and other such organizations (see p. 16 http://liberte-quebec.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/RLQ_Sondage2012.pdf ).
We feel this subject deserves serious thought. It concerns 50% of the population and affects our entire society. Sexual equality, yes, but for men and women equally. For this reason, one of the fundamental values of the party Équipe autonomiste is “Fairness in implementing sexual equality.”