Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North, NDP)
Mr. Speaker, in 1921, Agnes MacPhail became the first woman elected to this House. In talking about the women who would follow in her footsteps, she said, “I can almost hear them coming”. Well, there was no stampede.
Just over 30 years ago, I started working in this place with Ed Broadbent to advance the status of women in our party and in politics generally. With the help in particular of Stanley Knowles, we launched the campaign, “A woman's place is in the House-- of Commons”.
Since then women have made some progress, reaching 20%, but that is not enough. There is still no critical mass. Worse, advances made over the past 30 years are being wiped out.
The saddest moment in my 13 years here has been to see the clock turned back on pay equity and to see its elimination from the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
Today I want to thank all the women in my caucus who have supported me over these last 13 years, my leader, and women from all walks of life in this House who have been fighting the good fight for women's equality. Together we must carry on because equality is still a distant goal.
Carry on, sisters.
Subtopic: Status of Women