Oxfam grades Trudeau government's commitment to women

A new grading system is calling on the Trudeau government to enact more policies that will further the rights of women in Canada and across the world.

Oxfam's first annual feminist scorecard outlines where the federal government has made progress in pushing for greater opportunity for women nationwide, and where it has failed.

"We were excited to see the bold statements and the commitments of this government when they were elected," said the campaign's organizer Kelly Bowden. "This is the first time that we had a self-proclaimed feminist prime minister."

"[But] at the same time, the work that needs to be done continues to exist."

Feminist scorecard

The grading system looks at eight different fields, including climate change, care work, and representation. Oxfam assigns a score to each one based on what the government has done since it entered Parliament as the government.

A score of little, some, or significant progress is assigned to each segment.

The government scored highest in equal representation and taxation. Brooks cites Trudeau's gender balanced cabinet that was put in place shortly after he was elected into office.

"That was historic and very important symbolic first step of our government," she said.

Pay equity

But the organization ultimately declared that the Trudeau government has not backed up its feminist rhetoric with policy and spending decisions.

Oxfam states the government has "disappointingly taken very few steps to ensure women's work is fairly paid and equally valued."

"60 per cent of minimum wage earners in Canada are in fact women," said Brooks. "Women are overrepresented as low wage earners in Canada.

Brooks says raising minimum wage, or enacting a Canada-wide living wage, could partially rectify the disparity.

"It would give a leg up to women who are overrepresented in that space."

Sexism far from over

When asked why many issues such as pay equity continue to be a problem as different governments take office, Brooks provided a simple answer.

"Discrimination affects the kinds of jobs that women have access to and the wages that they earn once they enter into the workforce.

"In addition to legislative change, we also need to see changes in peoples beliefs and attitudes towards the value of women in society."

With files from CBC's B.C. Almanac

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled: Oxfam grades Trudeau government's commitment to women