FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following statement was released by Premier Brian Gallant, who is also the minister responsible for women’s equality, on International Women’s Day:
Your government recognizes the essential role women play in the social and economic development of our province.
International Women’s Day is observed annually on March 8 to recognize women’s achievements and to acknowledge the challenges they continue to face.
In New Brunswick, by working together, we have made great progress in advancing women’s equality.
The provincial government identified enhancing pay equity as an area of focus in the New Brunswick Family Plan report on advancing women’s equality, and we have taken several steps toward achieving that goal. Three Crown corporations have achieved compliance with the Pay Equity Act of 2009.
Data released by Statistics Canada in January indicates that New Brunswick’s gender wage gap fell to the second-lowest in Canada in 2017.
We must build upon this positive momentum and continue our work to support pay equity and promote gender balance in both the public and private sectors.
New Brunswick is working to improve gender balance on provincial agencies, boards and commissions. Recruiting more women to fill positions of influence and removing barriers to opportunities are areas of focus in the New Brunswick Family Plan. Between October 2014 and December 2017, the government made 698 appointments to agencies, boards and commissions. Of that number, 390 (56 per cent) were female. Of the 53 appointments to chair positions, 29 (55 per cent) have been female. To better understand the impact of decisions with respect to gender and diversity, we have also been using a gender-based analysis tool.
Your government has eliminated barriers to reproductive health that were in place for three decades, and is committed to doing more. We have brought forward actions that will no longer require two physicians to certify an abortion procedure is medically required, and we removed the requirement that the procedure must be performed by a specialist and placed it in the same category as any insured medical service. We introduced a program to provide universal access to Mifegymiso, commonly referred to as the abortion pill. By making Mifegymiso available free of charge for all New Brunswick women, our government is ensuring that financial barriers do not stand in the way of a woman’s right to choose.
Economic equality cannot be realized in full until women achieve the personal security that is their human right. Providing victims of intimate partner violence with better access to services and support is one of the government’s areas of focus, and introducing the Intimate Partner Violence Act is another measure aimed at ending violence against women.
As your government, however, we recognize that there is still much that needs to be done to achieve full gender equality in New Brunswick.
On this International Women’s Day, we encourage New Brunswickers to make a commitment to gender equality and share it on social media using the hashtag #MyFeminism. We encourage New Brunswickers to attend and support activities promoting gender equality that are being held around the province today and throughout the month. Event information can be found on the Women’s Equality Branch website.
Together, we can keep moving gender equality forward.