IWD Mesage from New Brunswick

Wednesday, July 28 2010


March 8, 2007

"There are myths about women having reached equality and others about how nothing has changed. Both are false and, particularly on this International Women's Day, we would do well to remind ourselves of this reality," according to Ginette Petitpas-Taylor, the chairperson of the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

To mark March 8, International Women's Day, the Advisory Council released two reminder lists, one for people who think women have reached equality and one for those who think women have not made any gains.

"The changes made by the federal government in the last few months will have a significant impact on Canadians and groups who work for equality. Those who are disadvantaged have lost some of the supports that Canada had provided. Progress will be slowed. At times like these, it is important to have perspective, to know that equality-seeking groups have made a difference but that the work is far from done."




Labour force

Family life



Women are only:



While 30% of New Brunswick women were in the labour force in the 1970s, 59% of them are in 2006.


Twenty years ago, almost half of unattached elderly women were living in poverty in New Brunswick but in 2004, about 6% are in that situation. Ten years ago, almost two-thirds of lone mothers in New Brunswick lived in poverty, now about one-third are in that situation.


1971: discrimination based on sex was finally prohibited in a provincial law (Human Rights Code).


Until 1967, New Brunswick women who were employed and who got married lost their job if they worked for the provincial government or one of several employers with a policy of only hiring women in permanent positions if they were divorced or married to an invalid husband.


Only since 1965 is New Brunswick's minimum wage the same for women and men, a fact which continues to contribute to the low salary scale of traditional female jobs.


In 1982, laughter and jokes were heard in the House of Commons when the subject of battered women was raised - a new issue for the House and for the times. Not before the 1980s did police in New Brunswick start dealing with violence against spouses in the same way as other assaults. Also in 1980 New Brunswick women gained the right to have custody of their children and support payments had to be paid even if the mother had been adulterous.


A provincial law was required in 1906 for women to be accepted as practicing lawyers - since the Bar society said women could not practice since they were not persons. In 2005, 54% of students in law schools in New Brunswick are women.


The first woman to train as a teacher in New Brunswick (1849) had to wear a veil, arrive 10 minutes before classes, sit in the back, leave 5 minutes before the end and speak to nobody. Women soon dominated the profession and in 1920, female teachers finally won equal pay with male teachers in New Brunswick.


In 1981, a First Nations woman from New Brunswick, Sandra Lovelace, won her complaint to the United Nations to have abolished the section of the 1869 Indian Act, which stripped Indian status from aboriginal women if they married a non Indian man.


1981: a provincial law establishes that marital property must be divided equally upon separation or death - a revolution compared to what was occurring. First Nations women on reserves still do not have similar protection for an equal sharing of property.



Only in 1985 did New Brunswick abolish certain sexist concepts in family law, especially the idea that a husband and wife were "one flesh", his, and that married women lost some of their legal personality. Women could not choose a separate domicile, husbands were protected for loss of the wife's services and they could sue if someone seduced, induced or harboured their wife, or had a "criminal conversation" with her (relations).

Latest news

Browse by topic