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Premier’s, parliamentary secretary’s statements on International Women’s Day

Province of British Columbia
By Province of British Columbia
March 8th, 2024

Premier David Eby has issued the following statement marking International Women’s Day:

“Today, we celebrate the contributions and achievements of women in B.C. and around the world. We also renew our commitment to achieving gender equity, empowering people in their reproductive choices, ending gender-based violence and making life better for women, girls, Two-Spirit, transgender and gender-diverse people throughout the province.

“B.C. is home to countless smart, caring and passionate women who make our province stronger. I think of the women who balance working, caring for their families and contributing to their communities. I think of the women on front lines delivering the services we all rely on, like child care, education and health care. And I think of the women breaking down barriers in fields where they continue to be underrepresented, including my colleagues in government, who, despite facing threats and hate just for doing their jobs, continue to push for positive change and lead our efforts to achieve gender equity.

“Our government recognizes that gender equity benefits everyone and is essential to the health of families, communities, our economy and the planet.

“An important part of our gender equity work involves creating economic opportunities for women. We have cut child care fees by up to $900 per month and created tens of thousands of new spaces, making it easier for women to return to work. Since 2017, affordable and accessible child care has contributed to more than 100,000 women joining the workforce. We have also created new training opportunities and implemented new pay transparency legislation so women can get the jobs and the compensation they deserve.

“Our government understands that investing in the health of women and gender-diverse people is essential to gender equity. In the past year, we became the first province in Canada to make prescription contraception free and the first to offer an at-home self-screening program for cervical cancer. And, starting next year, people will be able to access one cycle of in-vitro fertilization for free, because no one should be denied the opportunity to have a child because of how much money they make, who they love or whether they have a partner.

“We know we can’t achieve true gender equity until we eradicate gender-based violence, which remains a pervasive problem here in B.C. and around the world. To help address this crisis, our government has launched a gender-based violence action plan and made transformational investments in supports and services, including a $29-million expansion of legal aid for people experiencing family violence.

“All of this work has been informed by Indigenous leaders, community members, service providers, advocates and, most importantly, women and gender-diverse people with lived experience. Together, we have achieved a lot, and we have much more work ahead of us.

“Today, I encourage everyone to reflect on how they can advance gender equity and to celebrate the women in their lives, whether by attending a Women’s Day event, supporting a woman-owned business or thanking a special woman in your life for everything she does.”

Kelli Paddon, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, said:

“Women are the heart of our province. Historic investments in areas like health and child care empower women to pursue their dreams and build good lives for themselves and their communities.

“Through employment and skills-training initiatives, we are seeing their careers thrive in trades, tech and in other fields where they have traditionally been underrepresented.

“Our government is also working to make our communities safer and fairer and will continue to uphold everyone’s right to live free from discrimination and gender-based violence.

“Safe and Supported, B.C.’s gender-based violence action plan, builds on the transformational work underway in B.C., including safe spaces and housing for women and children leaving violence; expanded cell service to make travel safer; 75 new sexual assault programs, including five sexual assault centres; new 24/7 crisis lines; new policing standards; and stronger victim supports and other programming supported by more than $60 million from the Province each year for gender-based violence supports and services.

“This has been an incredibly difficult few years for everyone, but they have been especially hard for women. Women were disproportionately affected by the economic challenges of the pandemic, with so many caring for children and older family members, while facing the same worries and struggles as we moved through the crisis. The ongoing costs of living and concerns associated with climate change and global events also add to the stressors of everyday life.

“Our every step to support the women of our province is rooted in equity, where opportunities are available to all people, regardless of their gender, ethnicity or other parts of their identity.

“We honour the work of those who continue to fight sexism, transphobia, gender-based discrimination, harassment and violence every day.

“We know there is much more work to do and we will continue to build a better future for women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people in B.C.”

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