New campaign wants government to help women during the pandemic

By | May 25, 2020

WINNIPEG — The Institute for International Women’s Rights – Manitoba (IIWR-MB) has launched a new campaign calling on the government to create a ‘feminist response to COVID-19.’

Micaela Crighton, co-chair of advocacy for IIWR-MB, said they created the initiative after seeing movements from other organizations and determining how they can be applied in Manitoba.

“We had seen a large mobilization of feminist organizations, both nationally and internationally, start coming together to realize that the most marginalized people in this crisis have often been women,” said Crighton.

“Women make up over 70 per cent of front-line, healthcare workers around the world,” she said. “And oftentimes, they’re also working in precarious places, they don’t have access to the same kinds of benefits and salaries to be able to make it through such a precarious time, especially economically.”

Crighton noted support for domestic violence shelters is also needed.

“Across the country, we saw Minister (Maryam) Monsef call for increased supports to shelters because they were seeing increases in the need for supports for those who are suffering from domestic violence,” she said.

In light of the pandemic and economic shutdown, the institute has issued six calls to action for the Manitoba government:

  •  Apply a gender-based analysis to the COVID-19 response;
  •  Stop funding cuts to public services, Crown corporations and non-profits;
  •  Implement universal childcare in the province;
  •  Implement a living wage for all Manitoba;
  •  Increase EIA by $300; and
  •  Establish paid sick leave for all workers.

Crighton said the institute is hopeful that it will make some progress with the agenda.

“As with most things it’s about always trying to work to make everything better one step at a time,” she said, noting they are arranging a meeting with Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew.

The institute also wrote a letter to Premier Brian Pallister and Cathy Cox, Minister responsible for Status of Women, which was co-signed by 120 people and organizations.

CTV has reached out to the province for comment.

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