New Democrats celebrate historic milestone on International Women’s Day

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John Horgan, Leader of the B.C. New Democrats, and Maurine Karagianis, spokesperson for women’s issues, commemorated International Women’s Day and released the following statement:

“Today is a day to honour the women in our lives, and the women in our communities.

“Here in British Columbia, we have a real milestone to celebrate this International Women’s Day, with the election of two new female New Democrat MLAs, Melanie Mark, and Jodie Wickens, giving us the largest percentage of women in the legislature in B.C. history. even more special is the fact that Melanie Mark is the first First Nations woman to take a seat in the B.C. Legislature. We hope her historic achievement is just the beginning of better representation of Aboriginal people in our government.

“However, despite these strides, we still have a long way to go. Women still only make up just over a third of those sitting in the B.C. legislature, and in the federal parliament, women make up only one quarter of MPs.

“This under-representation is reflected in the way that governments respond, or don’t respond, to pressing issues that women face, such as access to reproductive health, investments in childcare, and action on domestic violence.

“Discrimination and gender-based violence continue to be real problems that women face in the workplace, in the home, and in our communities. Adding to the struggles women face, the gender pay gap in Canada is double the global average, with women taking home, on average, $8000 less per year than men doing the same work.

“These problems are even more pronounced for women who face multiple barriers, such as visible minorities and women with disabilities, which is why our work to end discrimination must not erase how different forms of discrimination make life more difficult for some women than for others.

“International Women’s Day is a reminder that we can do better.

“Together, we must work towards a province and a country that is more just, more equal, and more prosperous.”