Premier John Horgan and Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, have issued the following statement for International Women’s Day:
“On International Women’s Day, we honour the many women, girls, Two-Spirit and non-binary people in our province who are so often the cornerstones of our families, neighbourhoods and communities.
“This has been an incredibly difficult couple of years for everyone, but they have been especially hard for women. Women were disproportionately affected by the economic challenges of the pandemic and carried a disproportionate amount of responsibility for home schooling and caregiving when services were interrupted. Many also faced increases in gender-based violence during the crisis.
“Our ongoing recovery from the pandemic and climate-related disasters must be rooted in equity, recognizing systemic barriers and inequities are amplified during emergencies. This is particularly the case for Indigenous women, women of colour, women with disabilities, trans women and people in the 2SLGBTQ+ community. We are committed to a recovery that recognizes we are stronger together and at our best when no one is held back because of who they are.
“At a time when trans people, particularly trans women and girls, are under increased attack around the world, we also add our voices to say clearly that trans women are women.
“Recognizing that access to quality child care is crucial to women’s ability to work, learn and participate in the economy, we’re working hard to make quality child care a core service that every family can depend on. And we’re closing the skills gap that has left women out of high-paying, high-demand jobs with improved skills training initiatives. To make sure that women’s work gets paid its full due, we are moving forward with plans to introduce pay transparency legislation – a first in B.C.
“However, we know that first and foremost, equity requires safety and freedom from violence. No one can reach their full potential while being abused. That’s why, starting today, we’re hosting engagement sessions that will help us deliver a multi-year action plan by the end of 2022 to address gender-based violence.
“This will build on initiatives already underway, such as funding for community-based sexual assault response services provided in 2020 and 2021, and new funding announced with Budget 2022 that will be annual and predictable. This will provide victim-centred, trauma-informed support to help survivors of sexual assault on the long road to healing.
“As we work to address violence close to home, our hearts especially go out to those now suffering and in extreme danger as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Women and girls, especially trans women, women of colour and women with disabilities suffer under war, and gender-based violence is often a tool used in conflict. We are committed to peace and condemn violence in all forms.
“Together, we will use the opportunities before us to advance equality and everyone’s right to live free from discrimination and violence, and to build a better future for women, girls, Two-Spirit and non-binary people in British Columbia.”