Women’s Rights: 1950s-onwards

From June, 2004.

I See Progress
Some important events that occurred because of feminism are:
In 1950, Ellen Louks Fairclough was elected to the House of Commons and introduced a bill requiring “equal pay for equal work.” In ‘52, the legislation was put into effect in Ontario.
In 1955, restrictions on the employment of married women in the federal public service were removed.
In 1966, more than 2 million women represented by 32 organizations lobbied the government to establish a Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada. It was established in 1967 and chaired by Florence Bird. The commission found that 2/3 of all welfare receivers were women and that in 1971 women working full-time only earned 59.7 cents for every man’s dollar.
In 1969, the Criminal Code was amended, making prescribing and giving information on contraceptives no longer illegal. Also, same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults was no longer illegal. Abortion was legalized in instances of rape and incest.
In 1974, “[t]hirty-two women from across Canada hired as officers in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrive at the RCMP Training Academy to become the first female troop in the history of the Force.” (Status of Women Canada)
1975-85 was declared the Women’s Decade by the United Nations. It held the first World Conference on Women in Mexico. The Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada became a federal department in 1976 under the name Status of Women Canada.
In 1977, the Canada Labour Code was amended to provide 17 weeks of maternity leave. In ‘78, it was amended to prohibit dismissal or lay-off because of pregnancy. Also in ‘78, Air Canada hired their first female pilot.
In 1982, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into affect. It has been interpreted to require that women’s equality rights be promoted by the government.
In 1983, the Human Rights Act was amended to prohibit discrimination based on pregnancy and marital or family status and sexual harassment. Also, the federal government adopts Bill C-127 which recognizes “spousal rape”, thereby criminalizing it.
In 1985, the Indian Act was amended to return status and the right to band membership to Aboriginal women who had lost these rights by marrying non-Aboriginal men.
In 1988, abortion was totally decriminalized.
In 1991, December 6th was declared a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women by the federal government in remembrance of the 14 women brutally murdered by Marc Lepine at L’Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal.
In 1993, United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Violence Against Women was declared. Kim Campell became Canada’s first female PM.
In 1995, Bill C-72 changes the Criminal Code, making intoxication a no longer accepted defense in cases of sexual assault and battery. The Fédération des femmes du Québec initiates a Women’s March Against Poverty (the Bread and Roses March) where three contingents of 850 women marched for 10 days to the Quebec Legislative Assembly to win action on demands related to economic justice.
In 1996, the Canadian Human Rights Act is amended to include sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination.
In 1997, the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed that “no means no” (R. v. Ewanchuck). To paraphrase Status of Women Canada, the decision held that the idea of “implied consent” to sexual assault does not exist in Canadian law. The decision sent a strong message that consent to sexual activity cannot be given by a third party or motivated by fear or abuse of authority.
On March 8, 2000, the World March of Women in the Year 2000 commenced.

We Still Have a Long Way to Go…
“In 1997, 18.3% of adult women were living below the poverty line; the average wage of a woman working full-time was equivalent to 72.5% of the wage of a man working full-time. That figure dropped to 63.8% if all working women are taken into consideration (including those working part-time and the self-employed).” (Status of Women Canada)
53.5% of females and 30.6% of males under 21 have had a sexual offence committed against them. Almost half of child sexual assaults are committed by relatives. Approximately 85% of adult sexual abusers of boys are men. Between 94-100% of the abusers of girls are men. (Anne Duffy and Julianne Momirov)
Fathers are the perpetrators of 59% of physical abuse of children by parents and 99% of parent-child incest. (Duffy and Momirov)
29% of ever-married women have been physically abused by a partner. (Statistics Canada; cited by Holly Johnson and John F. Conway)
About 75% of (female) prostitutes have been sexually abused as children. In Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, 98% of the prostitutes have had a “bad date” (abusive customer). 16% of men have used a prostitute. (Trevor Greene)
A random sample by Diana Russell of 930 San Franciscan households found that 92.2% of females have experienced rape, sexual assault, and/or sexual harassment.
Over 100 million women worldwide have undergone female genital mutilation, and over 2 million more undergo it every year.
Women work 2/3 off all the world’s working hours, receive 10% of the world’s income, and own less than 1% of the world’s property. (Nikki Craft)
The World Health Organization estimates that 200 000 to 400 000 women die each year from illegal, poorly performed abortions. (Craft)

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Published in: on November 24, 2008 at 5:36 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great post, and great to see that you have a real blog going now (not that LJ wasn’t “real”). I’ve also updated my blog’s links to yours so that it now brings readers directly here.

    Good luck!

  2. Thanks 🙂 I’m switching some of my old stuff from lj to wordpress, so this is one of them.

    WordPress is definitely more real than lj 😛

    I’ve just read your pomo post! It was good 🙂


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