Magazine article Herizons

Status of Women Becomes Status Quo

Magazine article Herizons

Status of Women Becomes Status Quo

Article excerpt

(OTTAWA) Governments often withdraw funding when first elected, save a bit of money, and then correct their unpopular mistakes towards election time. In the case of the removal and restoration of $5 million from Status of Women Canada's Women's Program, however, funding is being redirected to a new Women's Partnership Fund.

The stated purpose of the new fund to is to "achieve the full participation of women in the economic, social and cultural life of Canada." Notably absent is a commitment to women's full participation in the political life of the country.

The Women's Program's priorities include economic security and targeting violence against women, with a focus on Aboriginal, immigrant, visible minority and senior women. However, new guidelines specifically exclude organizations involved in advocacy, lobbying or research from receiving funds.

According to feminist activist Bonnie Diamond, the Harper government is "trying to craft a political climate for women that will keep the status quo in place and will not address issues of inequality."

"Removing advocacy removes the ability of citizens to impress on the government the need for changes in law and politics," says Diamond.

In fact, several advocacy and research groups, including the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL), the National Organization of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women of Canada, and The Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW), have already been forced to close offices or cut back on their services because of the new regulations. Most notably, NAWL-an organization Diamond once headed-closed its doors in September.

"They have removed the means of making systemic changes that will benefit all women, not just individual women who are in crisis," according to Diamond.

The new guidelines under the Women's Partnership Fund make it clear that the government is looking for small projects that will produce a single, measurable outcome. …

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