Alberta still has a long way to go to achieve gender equality
Gender remains an important social determinant of health—We know that gender-based discrimination and ongoing gender inequality in our society results in increased health risks and poorer outcomes. Far too many Albertans still do not have proper access to reproductive and sexual health care, or gender-affirming health care.
Gender-based violence has increased in severity and frequency during the pandemic. Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit folks are continuing to go missing at alarming rates, and we continue to see violence targetting women of colour while out in public, especially those who wear a hijab.
The majority of our health care workers are women, many of whom are racialized and/or migrants, especially in the sectors of our system in which pay and working conditions are poorest. We know that health care working conditions directly impact the conditions of care that patients receive, and so valuing care work and supporting health care workers in their struggles will strengthen our public health care system for workers and patients alike.
This includes addressing the growing epidemic of violence against health care workers in the workplace. And this includes addressing the fact that Alberta continues to have the largest gender pay gap in the country. Without addressing pay equity, guaranteeing paid sick days and implementing universal child care, we will never close this gap.
But, rather than working to minimize gender inequity, our current government’s approach has been to ignore evidence, to attack health care workers, to scoff at using gender-based policy analysis, and to deepen structural inequities.
International Women’s Day is a day for action. A day to demand better. So today we call on the Government of Alberta to act, to commit to achieving gender equity in Alberta, and to work to address all of these issues. Anything less is unacceptable.