Today, NDP Candidate for Mount Scio Sheilagh O'Leary made the following statement about standing up for women in our province:
"Women in this province are struggling to afford a good life for themselves and their families. Many of them are minimum wage and part-time workers who really felt the financial impact of the pandemic. When businesses closed and people stayed home to stop the spread of the virus, women had even more caregiving responsibilities and less access to important support services they rely on.
"It's very disappointing that NDP Leader Alison Coffin is the only leader participating in the panel on gender equity hosted by the St. John's Status of Women Council and PANSOW. Women have been through a lot this year and they deserve to have elected leaders who show up for them and fight for the issues that matter in their lives.
"For years, government's decisions have helped the same old boys club instead of vulnerable women. New Democrats are going to do things differently and make choices that support women.
"Two-thirds of the minimum wage workers in the province are women. We've heard from single moms who juggle three shift work jobs to put food on the table for their kids but they still can't afford breakfast for themselves. Liberal and Conservative governments are failing these women. No one who works a 40-hour week should be living in poverty. Every New Democrat elected will fight for a $15 an hour minimum wage as a first step to a living wage.
"We've committed to hiring more nurses, LPNs, personal care attendants and paramedics –83 per cent of whom are women. This will help patients and make working conditions better and safer for exhausted, understaffed workers.
"Women's organizations have been asking the government for more help because the demand for their services increase as more and more people struggle to get by. Every New Democrat elected will fight to establish permanent, core funding for the Status of Women Council offices so they can continue to help vulnerable women across our province.
"Sadly, we know that home isn't a safe place for everyone. Women in Newfoundland and Labrador experience intimate partner violence at a much higher rate than the national average. New Democrats commit to more paid leave for women in these horrible situations. This financial support will help women get out of difficult circumstances and ultimately save lives.
"It's time women had elected officials who had their backs.
"Every New Democrat elected will help lift women out of poverty and take meaningful steps to address the barriers they face in this province."