A Statement from the Regional Committee on the Status of Women Councils of Newfoundland and Labrador to the Provincial Government
The Regional Committee of the Status of Women Councils are deeply concerned and disappointed that gender and diversity were not entrenched in Bill 1 from its inception We are further concerned that when an amendment was brought forward to include gender, diversity and regional representation this was ruled out of order.
As the government is more than aware, NL women experience one of the worst gender gaps in the country with women in NL earning 66 percent of what men earn – a wage gap of 34 percent. Further, this province has a concerning and historically low representation of women in positions of leadership, as the recent revelation of the abysmal gender gap on the board of Nalcor has demonstrated. This was not only a missed opportunity for the provincial government to mitigate these barriers for working women, but it sent a strong message that gender equality is quite simply not a priority.
Instead, the government has chosen to defend the traditional merit system which is unattainable. The merit system, inherently assumes everyone is on an equal playing field, has access to the same opportunities, and chooses candidates based on an objective selection process. Research is clear that reliance on traditional merit systems in fact perpetuates the inequalities and that men are favoured over equally performing and qualified women regardless of race, age and socio economic status.
We call on the government of Newfoundland and Labrador to correct this error in judgment and to include an amendment to Bill 1 enshrining gender balance, and diversity.
St. John’s Status of Women Council
Corner Brook Status of Women Council
Mokami Status of Women Council
Bay St. George Status of Women Council
Central Status of Women Council