Women’s issues take centre stage in panel
Federal election candidates will present their positions; Harper will not participate
Party leaders vying for women’s votes in the federal election will get to make their case during a panel on gender justice and equality Monday.
Organized by Oxfam Canada and the Alliance for Women’s Rights, Up for Debate will give women a chance to hold candidates accountable for policies that affect women.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, Green Leader Elizabeth May and Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe will each have a chance to tell the country how their parties will support women’s rights, laying out their positions in pre-recorded interviews that will become fodder for the debate. Conservative Leader Stephen Harper declined to participate.
“This debate —and these questions — matter not only to women but to all Canadians.” JANE DAVENPORT TORONTO STAR MANAGING EDITOR
This national conversation will be broadcast live from the Isabel Bader Theatre at the University of Toronto on Sept. 21. In partnership with the Toronto Star and Le Devoir, it will also be livestreamed in both official languages beginning at 7 p.m. Twitter Canada will broadcast the event live on Periscope and promote the debate on social media.
“This debate — and these questions — matter not only to women but to all Canadians. The Star is pleased to be working with our partners to advance and promote the discussion,” said Jane Davenport, managing editor at the Toronto Star.
Hosted by comedian and writer Jess Beaulieu, a panel of experts in the fields of media and social justice will debate the platforms of the four party leaders.
The leaders discussed their positions in exclusive interviews with esteemed journalist and documentary filmmaker Francine Pelletier, covering violence against women, genderbased economic inequality and women’s leadership.
“Women make up half of the population but they remain under-represented in Parliament and in decision-making roles in business,” said the Star’s social justice reporter Laurie Monsebraaten, who will be participating in the panel. “Despite the fact that more women than men are now graduating from university and college and more of them are moving into senior management positions at work, they still earn 33 per cent less than men. As a result, they are more likely to be poor in old age.”
The Alliance for Women’s Rights is made up of 100 partner organizations committed to starting a conversation about women’s rights during the election.
“It’s an opportunity for us to, for the first time, hear our leaders speak on these issues within the context of the election,” said Sarah Kennell, from Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights. “Women’s issues, gender equality and women’s rights have been completely absent from the conversation thus far.”