Consider women at the polls

This is an open letter to all voters in the federal election.

Please consider your grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, female friends, colleagues and neighbours when you vote.

We here at the South Okanagan Women in Need Society see the results of relationship abuse every day. We see it in women and children sometimes years after the abuse.

What can government do?

Ensure all women have a fighting chance to support themselves financially, through an adequate living wage for all Canadians. One in 10 children still lives in poverty in Canada. It’s worse for children living in First Nations communities: one in four grow up in poverty. Most Canadian children who live in poverty are supported by single mothers (source: 2010 Child Poverty Report Card). The federal government can also commit to non-prison sentencing options for the 80 per cent of women convicted of poverty-related offences.

What can government do?

Put into play an effective national strategy to end violence against women. Increase legal aid funds for family law.

What can government do?

Develop a national housing strategy for women in need (emergency, second stage and permanent).

According to YWCA Canada (the largest single provider of shelter for women and children fleeing violence), violence against women is a $4 billion a year problem in Canada, and the leading cause of women’s homelessness in this country. Every year, violence and abuse drive more than 100,000 women and children out of their homes and into emergency shelters. Women need access to shelter, and to a safe place to live beyond shelter.

The World Health Organization reports a wide range of physical, mental, sexual and reproductive, and maternal health problems which can result from violence against women.

These suggestions for government are suggestions that are achievable. They would go a long way towards improving many lives — women, men, girls and boys. This is not a feminist issue. It is a community issue. An issue that affects families on your street. Please ask your candidates where they stand. And vote accordingly. Thank you.

SOWINS management team members Eleanor Summer, Sharon Morrow, Melrose Tomlinson, Linda Blackwell, Donna Henningson

 

SOWINS board members Pam Antrim, Veronica Caione, Maimie DeSilva, Trudy Hanratty, Tracey Harberd, Lisa Hopper, Sue Tucker