Working for women: four ways we’re taking action on systemic discrimination

At home, in the workplace, and in public life, women around the world still face discrimination and inequality because of institutionalized sexism.

Here in BC, we’re working to change that.

Since forming government in 2017, our majority-women BC NDP government has fought to make life better for women and ensure they have the same opportunities men do.

Some of that work you might have heard a lot about, like our investments in affordable, accessible childcare to help new parents rejoin the workforce sooner. Others you might not, like our commitment to helping people with periods access free sanitary products, or how we made it illegal for employers to require women to wear high heels in the workplace.

All of these changes add up, and in the last few weeks, Premier David Eby’s team has taken four more steps forward to support women. They include:

A young woman holding a package of pills.

1. Making prescription contraception free

Everyone should have the freedom to choose when it comes to their reproductive health, and shouldn’t be held back by costs. Thanks to our BC NDP government, British Columbia is the first province in Canada to make prescription birth control free. For someone who uses oral contraceptive pills, this change could save them up to $10,000 over the course of their lifetime.

Woman distraught at her computer.

2. Creating the Intimate Images Protection Act

Having intimate photos shared online without consent has kept many victims of intimate partner abuse — most of whom are women — silent and afraid to speak out because of stigma and shame. This new protection will provide new ways for people to get their intimate images and videos taken off the internet and allow them to take back control of their lives.

A woman working at a construction site.

3. Moving towards pay transparency measures

BC has one of the largest gender pay gaps in Canada — on average, women make approximately 20 percent less than men. This has to change. The first step is to create pay transparency policies, which means employers will need to be open and upfront about salaries by putting wage and salary ranges in publicly advertised jobs so that candidates know what to expect. And, employees will be able to share their pay information with coworkers without being retaliated against. This is the beginning to close the gender pay gap and to ensure that everyone gets equal pay for equal work.

Woman holding a dog.

4. Updating the Family Law Act to address pet ownership and rights

Pets are an important part of a family — and sometimes women can be afraid to leave or divorce a partner because of what might happen to the family pet. Updates will mean judges need to consider custody of a family pet, including each person’s ability and willingness to care for a pet, any relationship children involved may have with a pet, and the risk of family violence or threat of cruelty when determining who gets custody of a beloved animal.

Woman with her two children.

Our work isn’t done — but we all benefit when women get to play an active and equitable role in our province.

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