Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Labour Congress National Women's Conference has once again succeeded in focusing attention on issues of vital importance to Canadian women.
Conference studies show disturbing trends in women's employment that clearly point to the abysmal Liberal record on helping women gain an equal footing in the workforce. The earnings gap between men and women actually grew between 1997 and 2002, with women earning only 63% as much as men on average. Women of colour earned even less.
The percentage of women working full time has dropped from 51.6% in 1995 to 44.5% in 2002, even though a quarter of women working part time would prefer to work full time. Many are pinned down by the Liberal failure to bring in a meaningful national childcare program, as are many unemployed women.
The percentage of women in low paying jobs has also risen to 31.5%, with the majority still in clerical, sales or service jobs.
Canada's unions are fighting hard to improve this disgraceful record. When will the Liberals put women's equality back on their agenda?