Good afternoon, Prof. Lahey.
by Chris Hannay 6/13/2012 4:02:06 PM
Hello, Chris. I am pleased to be here.
by Prof. Kathleen Lahey 6/13/2012 4:02:52 PM
Thanks for joining us. To start: Why do you think Canada was ranked as the best country for women of the G20 nations?
by Chris Hannay 6/13/2012 4:06:12 PM
Canada was rated so highly for two reasons -- sorry, this continues my initial attempt to answer! The first reason is that the poll sample was defined to exclude most of the more gender-equal countries from the poll base; this was done by excluding the EU region generally. The second reason is that this is a 'perceptions' poll that presented the results as if respondents had been reporting on facts, not perceptions and opinions. And where gender equality is concerned, the world has not yet realized that Canada has become increasingly discriminatory toward women over the last decade and more.
by Prof. Kathleen Lahey 6/13/2012 4:06:16 PM
(Learn more about the ranking here: www.theglobeandmail.com
by Chris Hannay 6/13/2012 4:07:06 PM
How has gender equality changed in Canada in the last decade?
by Chris Hannay 6/13/2012 4:07:32 PM
Canada was ranked #1 in the United Nations' gender equality ratings between 1995 and 1999. At the present time, Canada is ranked only 20th on the UN Gender Inequality Index (2011), and even lower on other indices.
by Prof. Kathleen Lahey 6/13/2012 4:08:17 PM
Why is that? What changed?
by Chris Hannay 6/13/2012 4:09:24 PM
This change in Canada's status is due to fundamental changes in core areas of social and economic policy. The tragedy for Canada is that policy makers in Canada know exactly how to move closer to true equality for women than they are now. But between declining media coverage of equality issues pertaining to women and current political attitudes, it is difficult to get governments to move forward on the corrections that are now so clearly needed.
by Prof. Kathleen Lahey 6/13/2012 4:10:31 PM
What's the biggest correction you think needs to be made?
by Chris Hannay 6/13/2012 4:12:18 PM
The decline in women's movement toward equality set in in the early 1990s during an earlier recession. Between the Harris government in Ontario and political focus in Ottawa on deficit reduction policies above all else, major cuts were made to programs like employment insurance, support for single parents, most of whom are women, and transfers to provinces. So the biggest correction that needs to be made is to restore the level of federal support for these programs as quickly as possible, to enable women to regain some of the ground lost so dramatically in recent years.
by Prof. Kathleen Lahey 6/13/2012 4:13:18 PM
A comment from Twitter:
by Chris Hannay 6/13/2012 4:13:51 PM
Current changes to employment insurance, old age security, and transfers to provinces are going to cut these core programs even further.
by Prof. Kathleen Lahey 6/13/2012 4:14:23 PM
Natalie, I agree. Women pay as much for their university educations. And they often have to borrow more, because even part time and summer jobs do not pay women at the same rates as men. The injustice to university graduates is compounded when women have to make the same loan payments as men, but out of lower incomes.
by Prof. Kathleen Lahey 6/13/2012 4:15:40 PM
Example re EI changes in the omnibus bill: Although the ‘Best 14 Weeks’ pilot project currently run by HRSDC has been found to be the one EI program that actually assists women overcome gender-specific barriers to EI, Budget 2012 proposes to expand the eligibility test to ‘best 14 to 22 weeks.’ Increasing the number of weeks some women will have to present in this ‘best weeks’ approach will inevitably deprive women who can qualify on the best 14 weeks from continuing to take advantage of this alternative qualifying test.
by Prof. Kathleen Lahey 6/13/2012 4:17:49 PM
How does the "best 14 weeks" program work?
by Chris Hannay 6/13/2012 4:19:25 PM
The best 14 weeks approach enables women with fragmented work records to select their best weeks out of the qualifying period, compensating somewhat for the fact that far more women than men have fragmented work records.
by Prof. Kathleen Lahey 6/13/2012 4:20:20 PM