For Immediate Release
14 April, 2023
Lela Evans, NDP MHA for Torngat Mountains, is commenting on the 98th anniversary of women getting the right to vote and hold office in Newfoundland and Labrador yesterday.
“The reason I sit as an MHA today is thanks to all the women who bravely fought for their right to vote,” said Evans. “It took a lot of courage to publicly demand the right to vote back in an age where women had little rights and were considered to be inferior to men. Women spoke out, facing backlash, public ridicule, and harassment. Those brave women wanted a better life for themselves and their families. They believed that gaining the right to vote was the way to secure a better future. Ninety-eight years later I think they would be pleased at the freedoms women have obtained but disappointed that gender equity has still not been accomplished.”
Evans believes that this Liberal government is continuing to fail not just women in this province but all its residents. Evans points to the lack of credible action taken by government around gender equity and closing the gender wage gap. In 2017, the House of Assembly unanimously passed a Private Member’s Resolution on Pay Equity by NDP MHA Gerry Rogers. According to Evans, the current act is woefully inadequate and does nothing to address pay equity for women of the province.
“In Spring 2022, while defending the absence of a Pay Equity bill, the Minister of Women and Gender Equality stated in the House of Assembly that they were taking other steps to close the wage gap, highlighting $10 a day childcare,” said Evans. “Yet, we are hearing every day from women who can’t go back to work because there are no childcare spaces available. That isn’t closing the gap.”
“Early Childhood Educators, after waiting for the release of the new wage grid, still do not have the money from government to support their new wages,” said Evans. “This is a field of work dominated by women. This isn’t closing the gap.”
This week, the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour announced their call for government to reset Bill 3 (Pay Equity and Pay Transparency Act) and start from scratch, this time consulting with women’s groups, unions, and business, so that Bill 3 will not be an empty promise.
“Our caucus voted against Bill 3 due to the lack of consultation with unions and stakeholders with lived experience. We support pay equity, but not the vision that government had for it with Bill 3,” said Evans. “If government was really determined to close the gender wage gap in the province, they would have had a robust consultation process for this legislation, and gotten it right the first time.”
“It’s been 98 years since women won the right to vote in our province, and yet we are still fighting for pay equity. This government is failing the women of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
For further information, contact Stephanie Curran, Media Relations Manager, NDP Caucus at 709.330.0328 (o), or email@example.com