Federal Government removed the words ‘women’s equality’ from the mandate of the Status of Women Canada, reduced the agency’s budget by 38.5% and made changes to the mandate and funding rules.
Ottawa (19 Sept. 2007) – The National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) has announced that it has been forced to lay off staff and shut down its national office.
The closure of the NAWL office is a result of the Harper Government’s changes in funding policies to women’s groups. Beginning in the fall of 2006 the Harper Conservatives began a series of changes to the Status of Women Canada, an agency which promotes gender equality.
The Government removed the words ‘women’s equality’ from the mandate of the Status of Women Canada, reduced the agency’s budget by 38.5% and made changes to the mandate and funding rules which prohibit women’s organizations from engaging in advocacy or lobbying activities. Only groups that promote women’s ‘participation’ in the social, economic and cultural life of their community will be funded.
Despite opposition from across Canada, the government has eliminated funding for advocacy and research by women’s organizations such as the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA), the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW) and NAWL.
The resulting elimination of funding led to NAWL’s announcement that it is closing its national office. NAWL’s Board will keep the organization alive on a volunteer basis; however, the capacity will be greatly diminished.
NAWL will be holding a press conference on September 20th on Parliament Hill to denounce the Government’s efforts to silence feminist women’s voices and prevent civil society participation in federal law-making processes. NUPGESupport NAWL
Write a letter to Prime Minister Harper and your local MP voicing your disagreement with the Government’s decisions to eliminate all funding for feminist research, education and advocacy. Sample letters are provided at www.nawl.ca and www.womensequality.ca.