STRATFORD, PEI — Today, the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women released its 2009 Equality Report Card. The Report Card assesses provincial government action on more than twenty high-priority women’s equality goals in seven categories. This year, in its second ever Report Card, the PEI Status of Women awarded the provincial government a C overall. The Equality Report Card publication is available at http://www.gov.pe.ca/acsw.
Summary of Category Grades:
- C+ for Making Equality a Priority
- C for Women in Decision-Making
- B– for Family Violence Prevention
- C+ for Access to Justice
- C for Supports for Caregiving
- C for Women’s Health
- D for Women’s Economic Status
“A C grade means that government is taking small steps towards women’s equality goals,” says Status of Women Chairperson Isabelle Christian. “This is not a bad mark. Small and incremental changes are meaningful. Over time, small steps will improve quality of life for the Island’s most vulnerable women and their families. Still, we want to make sure it doesn’t take too long.”
As examples of small steps (C grades), the Status of Women highlights behind-the-scenes work towards a domestic violence court option, a newly hired family law legal aid lawyer, some additional investment in early childhood care and education (especially for kindergarten-aged children), increased investment in home care for seniors, and new agreements and funding announcements for urgently needed affordable housing.
Highlights of government action over the past year (B grades) include renewed commitment to family violence prevention, continued work on woman abuse protocols that support women in abusive situations to interact with government systems, ongoing employment of strong numbers of women in the public service, and steps to update provincial statistics on women.
The Council identifies several areas that need to see urgent government action (D and F grades), including updating employment standards as promised, putting in place a process for a cross-government Poverty Reduction Strategy built from grassroots consultation, ensuring women benefit equally with men from economic development plans, investing in Islanders’ mental health, and taking steps to allow more birthing options (such as regulated midwifery).
“For the next Equality Report Card, we will be looking for a more even approach across government to addressing issues raised by Island women. We are looking to government to consider gender and diversity as a matter of course in all new policies and legislation,” says Christian.
“It’s a very positive sign that government has committed to doing more to support policy-makers across government departments and divisions to use analysis based on gender and diversity lenses.”
The next Equality Report Card will be released by the PEI Status of Women in two years, in June 2011. Concludes Christian, “Until then, our Council is looking forward to collaborating with government to help achieve high grades across all categories.”
Hard copies of the 2009 Equality Report Card are available from the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women by calling 902-368-4510 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.