Women and the Economic CrisisWednesday, December 14 2011
Government actions should never increase economic or social inequality, especially during an economic crisis. The economic recovery plans currently on the table fail to offer solutions that address the needs of women and diverse groups of women. Women's and men's realities are significantly different.
To attain true equality, we need to take these differences into account. We urge our federal and provincial governments to conduct gender-inclusive analysis of government policies and budgets. It is essential to evaluate the repercussions of existing or proposed policies, laws, budgets and programs on women and men, and diverse groups of women and men.
There is more than one way to revitalize the economy. We are calling for initiatives that do not add to the existing inequalities between men and women.
In this perspective, we ask our governments:
- to invest in social infrastructure, that is, social programs like child care, housing, education and healthcare,
- to guarantee an adequate income for all,
- to maintain the progressive rate structure for personal and business income taxes and not reduce taxes.
- Regroupement féministe du Nouveau-Brunswick
- New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity
- New Brunswick Child Care Coalition
- Business and Professional Women Greater Moncton
- Canadian Federation of University Women
- Club des femmes de carrière du Sud-Est du Nouveau-Brunswick
- Collectif des femmes du Nouveau-Brunswick
- NBFL Women's Committee
- Fédération des femmes acadiennes et francophones du Nouveau-Brunswick
- Femmes équité Atlantique
- Common Front for Social Justice
Women and the Economic Crisis
- Invest in social infrastructure, that is, social programs like child care, housing, education and healthcare.
- The population will need these social supports more than ever
- Many women work in the public sector, source of many female-dominated jobs. A one billion dollar investment in the public sector creates 20,000 good jobs.
- Physical infrastructure is important, but social infrastructure should get an adequate share of public spending
- Public sector services should not be transferred to the community sector to save on labour costs. That increases the wage gap between women and men and reduces accountability, confidentiality and fair access for all. Community sector employees, mostly women, are frequently underpaid because of a chronic lack of financial resources.
- Federal government transfers to provinces and municipalities must be maintained to provide long-term funding for health, postsecondary education, training, equalization payments and other public services and programs.
- Investments are needed in social housing. That would create
- employment while fulfilling an urgent need for modest income women.
- This is an opportunity to build a childcare system that will contribute to long-term economic development. Each dollar invested brings returns of $2 to $17.
- Guarantee an adequate income for all.
- The situation of women and men living in poverty must not deteriorate.
- Social assistance rates and policies should allow a person to live in dignity. Current social assistance rates in N.B. only give beneficiaries between 19% and 41% of the amount determined to be the poverty line.
- The minimum wage should be at least $10/hour in N.B. A person working 40 hours a week at the current minimum wage earns $16,120 a year, or $2,027 less than the low-income cutoff for communities of 30,000 to 99,000 inhabitants.
- Pay equity legislation must be adopted in the public and private sectors. Female-dominated jobs are too often underpaid. As pay equity is a human right, it should not be relegated to the collective bargaining process.
- The number of hours required to qualify for Employment Insurance should be reduced to 360.
- Maintain the progressive rate structure for personal and business income taxes and not reduce taxes.
- Income tax represents a sharing of our resources and funds essential programs like healthcare and education, allowing us to maintain a high standard of living and mitigate the effects of poverty.
- Reducing income tax for higher income levels benefits only one group: people with higher incomes! There is no guarantee that the tax savings will translate into local purchases or investments.
- Income tax for businesses and individuals must remain progressive. We absolutely oppose the idea of a flat income tax rate with an increased sales tax. This would increase the burden on the poorest, who would end up paying a higher percentage of their income in taxes of all sorts because they are unable to save. Women as a group would shoulder a disproportionate share of the cost of social services, since their annual income is much lower than that of men.
- We are not in favour of income splitting. It is a costly measure that only benefits couples with one high income partner.
- It is fair and appropriate that low-income men and women pay no income tax.