Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the Social Planning & Research Council of Hamilton for continuing its important work of tracking and reporting on the basic indicators for women's progress.
The council's most recent report confirms that women in Hamilton still earn significantly less than men. In fact, they only make 73% of men's total income.
However, the picture of poverty in our city is multi-faceted. Single women, visible minority women, newcomer women and aboriginal women have especially high rates of poverty, pointing to the fact that women's poverty is not equally distributed in our community.
Among women who work full time, 7% are earning wages so low that they are still poor. There are more than 4,000 working poor women in Hamilton, and the general poverty rate for women is 20%, significantly higher than the provincial average of 16%.
For senior women, the picture is especially bleak. Older women are more than twice as likely to be living in poverty as older men, and the poverty rate for single female seniors is much higher than for the general population of women 65 years of age and older.
It does not have to be this way. It is time to heed the advice from the UN, whose recent report showed that electing more gender-balanced legislatures leads to policies that improve women's lives. Clearly--