Today, I rose in the legislature to make a statement about International Women’s Day 2020.
S. Furstenau: Super Tuesday was not so super for Elizabeth Warren, and so it looks as though the U.S. Democratic Party will get to choose between two males of a certain age for their presidential candidate, and then choose between two males of a certain age for their president — same old, same old.
Here in Canada, a poll last year indicated that 19 percent of people think that feminism has too much influence in Canadian politics. This is polling that was done at the same time that Canada had only one woman amongst 13 provincial and territorial leaders in the country. In the 2019 federal election, a record-setting 29 percent of MPs elected were women. At the rate we’re going, it’s going to take 100 more years before we reach parity.
While women are underrepresented in office, we are overrepresented in other ways. More than 1.9 million women in Canada live on a low income, 82 percent of sexual assault victims under 18 years old are girls and over 6,000 women and children sleep in shelters on any given night because it isn’t safe at home. These data sets are not disconnected. Women elected to office bring a necessary and deeply underrepresented perspective. When women are elected, change happens.
In Nevada, the first female majority legislature in U.S. history has shown that the laws that have been passed very much demonstrate this. These laws include protection for women firefighters, a requirement that companies of over 50 employees pay sick leave, equal pay legislation and protection of women’s reproductive rights. The Nevada legislature also introduced a series of laws related to domestic violence, sexual assault and sex trafficking that were passed unanimously.
We will only meet the needs of every citizen when our elected representation actually reflects our citizenry. This needs to be recognized not just on International Women’s Day, but every day.