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Advisory Council on the Status of Women

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2011-09-19: Coalition of Advisory Councils Meets in Halifax

Provincial and Territorial Advisory Councils on the Status of Women from across Canada came together on September 14 and 15 in Halifax, Nova Scotia to discuss progress and challenges related to women’s equality. The Coalition of Provincial and Territorial Advisory Councils is a national group consisting of provincial and territorial advisory councils from across the country dedicated to advancing women’s issues within their individual provinces but who come together in the interest of women on a national level.

Over the course of the two day meeting, three priority issues emerged: poverty among older women, hypersexualization of girls and women, and violence against women, particularly Aboriginal women.

Although the Advisory Councils all work on issues that are specific and unique to their own regions, it is clear some significant equality issues are shared by women all across Canada. “Without a doubt, Canadian women have experiences, needs and concerns in common, which should be addressed and advanced through a shared vision of women’s equality and a national scope of action. For example, women in Canada are an aging population. While it varies from province to province, women still earn roughly 70% of what a man earns during their working lives. Fewer women than men have pensions and they are for the most part significantly less than those of men. We are seeing more and more senior women living in poverty” commented Marlene Bertrand, Chair for the Manitoba Women’s Advisory Council.

Attended by representatives from coast to coast, this annual meeting provides an opportunity to not only share individual experiences and information, but also create a national action plan to address issues affecting women throughout Canada.

Coalition chair, Linda Ross (CEO/President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women), believes that while the issues identified are significant, coming together on a national scale not only brings broader attention and awareness to their importance, but allows an opportunity for collaborative work to address them.

“Although Advisory Councils no longer exist in all provinces, the Coalition does take a national approach to addressing women’s issues. Councils play a valuable role in their own provinces and territories and we would very much like to see the return of Advisory Councils in all provinces. Not only does the Coalition support one another in our Provincial and Territorial work but we are also a collective, strong voice in addressing the issues the affect women throughout our country,” said Ross.

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