It seems important to frame the equality as something within the nature of men already holding much of the rights and prestige with the movement towards men’s status of women; wherein, the moving forward of women towards further equality with men becomes an issue in the workplace.
Canadian society and legal systems deal with this issue on a number of fronts with the Canadian Human Rights Act, Canadian Human Rights Commission, and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal covered in recent prior articles.
Another unassociated but directly related by theme document in Canadian legal traditions is from 1995 with the Equal Employment Act. The purpose of the act is to achieve equality within the workplace, which amounts to a continuation, in law, of the Second Wave Feminism movement from the 60s and 70s with further instantiation in the legal traditions and subsequent implementation in the workplace.
The scope of the act is an important aspect of the equality from within the workplace for women with men. Herein, we can find the statements of the purpose to achieve equality for women who – historically speaking – have been subject to the denial of employment opportunities and so access to jobs and careers regardless of accomplishments, qualifications, and talents based on their sex.
It remains important to parse the precision of the statements within the act itself in order to delineate the forms of the equality implied and the scope and type too. For example, the phrasing of the “denied employment opportunities or benefits for reasons unrelated to ability” becomes a hefty statement as to the equality of women with men.
In order to achieve some modicum of equality with men in the workplace. The statement pertains to two forms of equality for women within the workplace including the opportunity or access, or more properly the improper denial thereof. The access to the job market is an important part of the equality. Because women, as noted, did not have the fundamental access to the world of work outside of the home and childcare, where their work was not considered work via the standards and values of the nation in the evaluation of a simple metric: pay.
Women went through the hard labour and struggle of raising kids in the midst of simply not having the equal access to the job market tied to the idea of women’s only place being in the home. The home as the fundamental area for women and the only basis for their status based on a form of servility to the state and the family in the form of the enforced home and family life.
Many women do not like this; in fact, the enforced nature of the affair and the coercion from the community, the religion, and society seemed to enforce this even further with the only or most appropriate place for women in the home cleaning and cooking and changing diapers for no pay. As the society has been advancing, we can now see the developments for women to be able to enter into the paid job market.
The paid market of employment, in my opinion, should be extended to childcare as this is an important contribution to the next generations of persons, was kept from women and the work they did do was not valued and so, by implication, devalued and not considered valuable enough to be worth any pay at all.
The other half of the statement describes the ways in which the – once the equal access or opportunity as a point is covered – access and benefits become based on ability and not on sex. That is, if a woman is equally qualified to fulfill a particular position, then the woman deserves the equal opportunity, as per the first statement, to attempt to get the job but then also the right to have the equal benefits of the workplace if the job is earned in the first place.
With respect to corrective measures for the further equality of the sexes, we find the need to “correct the conditions of disadvantage in employment experienced by women” and the importance of the employment equity as important for the fundamental basis of equality. Finances permit someone to do more with their life. As someone can do more with their life, they can begin to live a more fulfilling existence apart from the prior enforced homelife.
Many women want a balanced life – more than men, but many others want to be able to gain access to the jobs market and only partially and recently have been developing some benefits of the equal employment opportunities within the society. There have only been marginal increases in earnings for the under 30 single women above and beyond the men. But for the most part, the women have the idea that they can achieve more and attend to more of the development of their own capacities through education.
These remain partial and not inexorable developments; if the religions as tools of the State and the socio-cultural context of men feeling as if they own women and women being treated as if they can only be in the home begin to work hard at the clamping down on the legal rights, social and cultural privileges, and economic freedoms won by sacrifices of women and men coming before them, the women of the current generation will be in for a rude awakening in the midst of a continuous and rapid slide back into the world of no rights and fewer provisions for their equal treatment within the society.
These do not come from above but from below and need diligence and vigilance in the maintenance of the freedoms and rights and privileges of women with men. The principle of employment equity enshrined in the Employment Equity Act implies a form of the development of the moral life of the individuals and the institutions within the society, which seems even more true for the Indigenous women within the culture – think of the hard work and resilience required and the maintenance of broad compassion and courage for honesty required for women such as Lee Maracle to found a large sector of writings to inspiration the next generations of Indigenous young women to achieve and pursue their means for independence and equality within a society even having difficulties coming to grips with the differential disappearance and abuse of Indigenous women and who, historically, were not even considered legal persons on two fronts with the denial of the right to vote for women and for Indigenous peoples throughout Turtle Island or the sector called Canada.
The basis for equality will need to be enshrined into the for future for the maintenance of the equality between the sexes with the “special measures and the accommodation of differences” within the society, even if the sex and gender of the individual in question. The act does provide a basis for further hope as this precisely defines the basis upon which we can all live in a more just and equal society.
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