OTTAWA – On this International Women’s Day, New Democrat MPs tabled two private members’ bills to advance women’s equality in Canada.

NDP Status of Women Critic Françoise Boivin (Gatineau) and MP Mylène Freeman (Argenteuil-Papineau-Mirabel) tabled a bill to make Status of Women Canada an independent federal department.

In addition, MP Irene Mathyssen (London-Fanshawe) tabled a bill requiring mandatory gender parity within the boards of directors of Crown corporations. Under this bill, women could account for no less than 40 percent of directors in federal organizations.

“The situation of women in Canada is not yet equal to that of men,” Boivin said. “That is why we want Status of Women Canada to become a full-fledged department. This would allow the agency to broaden its areas of activity and further advance women’s equality.”

Freeman criticized the Conservatives for not doing enough to protect gender equality and for having slashed funding to Status of Women Canada.

“Unfortunately, there are many signs of inequality between men and women in Canada. For example, the wage gap, the low participation of women in politics and the low quality of life of Aboriginal women,” she pointed out.

Mathyssen said that inequality between men and women persists in upper management roles in business.

“Many women are qualified and have the necessary expertise to hold high-ranking positions, but are ignored,” Mathyssen said. “Canadian women are clearly under-represented in boards of Crown corporations—with only 27 percent of women appointed as directors.”