Value of having a Minister Responsible for the Status of Women

Dear editor:

On International Women’s Day, community organizations screened the new NFB film “Status Quo?: The Unfinished Business of Feminism in Canada” to a packed room. The film highlighted progress on gender equality goals but also the need to continue work on tough issues in face of pressures to roll back hard-fought gains.

One of the landmark steps towards gender equality the film highlighted was the establishment of Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women. Our current Minister Responsible for the Status of Women in PEI is Hon. Valerie Docherty.

We are proud that since the 1970s Prince Edward Island governments have consistently placed an important emphasis on having a Minister Responsible for the Status of Women as part of Cabinet. Prince Edward Island has also maintained a women’s secretariat inside government and an Advisory Council on the Status of Women outside government to advise the Minister and raise public awareness of gender issues that affect the status of Island women and their families.

To me, it’s a good sign that at least one person felt strongly enough about the importance of the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women’s role to note her absence on International Women’s Day.

Minister Docherty gave her regrets in advance of local International Women’s Day celebrations because she was in fact scheduled to fulfill duties as Minister Responsible for the Status of Women. She was co-presenting work for girls’ safety at the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations as part of this year’s UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York. The CyberSafe Girl project (cybersafegirl.ca) is an Atlantic project that provides tools for parents and girls to be safe online. This work was completed through the partnership of all four of the Atlantic Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women, and we’re proud of the work and leadership contributed by Minister Docherty.

We are fortunate that the role of Minister Responsible for the Status of Women continues to have both public profile and internal support. This allows the Minister to complete important work like the CyberSafe Girl project that has national and international recognition. And we will look forward to participating with Minister Docherty at future local events.

Sincerely,

Diane Kays, Chairperson

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