March 8, 2018
English Edition, No. 3
Long Live March 8, International Women's
All Out for the Affirmation and Emancipation
Women and All of Society!
Long Live March 8,
International Women's Day!
• All Out for the Affirmation and
Emancipation of Women and All of Society!
Short Interviews with Women
Workers on the Occasion of March 8th
• Manon Castonguay, President of
USW Local 6486 for Workers at the
CEZinc Refinery in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield
• Magali Giroux, Postal Worker, Member of the
of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers
• Nathalie Savard, President of
the Union of Health Care
Workers in Northeastern Quebec
• Nathalie Soullière,
Construction Worker and Member of the
Electrical Union (FIPOE)
• Statistics on
the Situation of Women in Quebec
Long Live March 8, International Women's Day!
All Out for the Affirmation and Emancipation
of Women and All
On the occasion of International Women's Day, the
Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec (PMLQ) sends its warmest
revolutionary greetings to all fighting women in Quebec, Canada,
the First Nations and around the world. In 2018, while society's
retrogression is intensifying on all levels, women continue to
stand at the forefront of all struggles, including for the
elimination of poverty, violence, war and aggression and against all
attacks on human rights. They defend the right to health care, to
education for all, they oppose privatization and the anti-social
offensive. They do so not only for themselves, their families, their
communities and society as a whole, but for a nation-building project
that guarantees the rights and well-being of all and does not leave
anyone to fend for themselves.
anti-social offensive of the governments of
Quebec and Canada reveals its hideous features in all aspects of life.
One of the salient features of the anti-social offensive of the rich
and their political representatives is the stifling repressive silence
that is imposed and the criminalization of speech as a human right to
deliberate, discuss and act to solve the problems of society in a way
which benefits the people. In that regard, we must salute and
congratulate First Nations women in particular who, across Quebec and
Canada, have smashed the silence and taken the floor to demand justice
for murdered and missing Indigenous women. Alongside their sisters and
their allies, they reject the smooth talk and deceptions of the
colonial state. They refuse to remain silent about the fate of their
daughters and their communities. No to impunity! They are defending
their mothers, sisters and aunts, their missing or murdered daughters
and are doing so in defence of their right to be, their future and that
of their families and society and they refuse to give up.
We must also greet and congratulate the nurses of Quebec who
are also on the front lines to break the silence and demand the working
and living conditions they need to work with dignity and peace of mind
to provide the health care services to the people. Under threat of
suspensions and reprisals, they have courageously put forward their
demands. While they take up the social responsibility their profession
and work require of them, the government refuses to take up its own.
They are putting forward and defending their claims that they have a
right to make on society. They reject the Couillard government's
anti-social agenda and consider it an affront to human beings and a
threat to society's future.
made a lot of effort in recent months to appeal
to women and have them believe it is on their side. The more it bandies
about words such as 'feminist,' 'equality between men and women,' and
'progressive,' the more it tries to have its
anti-social agenda accepted and divide the body politic.
According to the government, the problem is behaviour, attitudes,
or the wearing of certain clothing, and what is needed are laws
for the protection of informants, criminalization and increased
police powers. But women reject these powers over and above them
that are and will be used against them. They reject such laws
that criminalize them and provide no solution whatsoever to the
problems they face as workers, as women and as members of the
body politic. All this is done to hide the reality that the source of
women's oppression is directly related to capitalist exploitation. This
system based on the exploitation of persons by persons in all aspects
of society blocks the emancipation of woman and the society.
Based on their own experience, women are realizing more and
more that what is blocking them are the so-called democratic
institutions, such as the National Assembly, which is one of the tools
being used to attack them. Clearly, women and their allies have no
control whatsoever over the decisions taken which affect their lives or
the wealth they create, so that it serves the well-being of all. By
taking up action with analysis and placing the full weight of their
organizations behind the defence of their rights and their dignity and
to put an end to all forms of humiliation and exploitation, real
advance will most certainly be made.
One hundred and seven years ago,
the first International Women's Day took its lead from the call for
peace issued by communist women in Europe prior to the First World War.
Since then, life itself has confirmed that women are the
mightiest force for peace worldwide. This finds expression in the
struggle to Make Canada a Zone for Peace and to establish an anti-war
government and to remove Canada from all war alliances, coalitions and
cartels of all kinds, including all economic, military and cultural
blocks in their service. Today, both Quebec and Canada are embroiled in
all U.S. wars of aggression, occupation and regime change and Canada is
a member of alliances and coalitions which threaten the annihilation of
those peoples who refuse to submit to U.S. dictate. On the occasion of
International Women's Day 2018, let us commit to tripling our efforts
to establish an anti-war government and make Canada a zone for peace.
Throughout the month of March women are organizing activities
in all regions of Quebec. Together they are discussing, reflecting
upon, seeking and advancing solutions to open the path and move society
forward. Join us in activities celebrating International Women's
Day across the country! Together, let us lay our claims:
increased investments in social programs, decent wages, day care
and senior care services, no to the criminalization of speech and
social action, justice for Indigenous women and girls,
nation-to-nation relations with Indigenous peoples in a modern
Quebec and Canada and no to aggression and war! All out in
defence of the rights of women and girls!
Long live International Women's Day!
Short Interviews with Women Workers on the
Occasion of March 8th
Manon Castonguay, President of USW Local 6486 for Workers at
the CEZinc Refinery in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield
is that anything is
possible. There is no barrier that women cannot cross. As far as
I'm concerned, I started working at the refinery in 1997 and was
the first woman to work there. Now there are 18 women out of a
total of 368 workers. I am also the first woman president of the
local. It is important to open doors for women in non-traditional
occupations. These are jobs that are often well paid. There is
talk of achieving women's financial independence, but often
single-parent women are forced to work one, two or three jobs to
support their families. If they work in a non-traditional
environment, often they will be able to achieve the same goal
with one job. I find very sad the situation of single-parent
women who do not have financial independence, who face a battle
every month to get food on the table and pay the rent. Often the
jobs are precarious, part-time jobs. Women end up with 20 hours a
week and they do not know their work schedule in advance. This
should not happen in this day and age. Women must have a job that
meets their needs because that is what they deserve.
Magali Giroux, Postal Worker,
Member of the Montreal Local
of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers
March 8th is an important and relevant day because it's a
time to remember. Yes, we have come far and there are women who
have really struggled, but there is still a long way to go. There
is still a big wage and social gap.
If we look at the postal sector, it is still mostly men who
are letter carriers, even though things are changing. A pay equity
fight is currently being waged today, in 2018! Rural and suburban
letter carriers, the majority of whom are women, earn 30 percent less
than what urban letter carriers earn, who are mostly men. We still have
a problem. We have a problem in our union bodies, which are mostly
comprised of men. There are family constraints - we have children, a
family. We still carry the main load, the mental load, the school
meetings, family health, the purchase of clothes - winter, summer,
autumn - dentist and doctor's appointments.
The union is making efforts to facilitate women's
participation. Training is done on weekends to make it more accessible.
Women can come with their children - daycare is provided by the union,
or they pay for childcare. These are gains. At meetings, children are
welcome. When we see that women want to get involved, we can assist,
encourage and help in doing so.
In society the important battles are equity, equality and the
#metoo movement. For me it is of paramount importance - we are in
the midst of change, something is happening, it must continue to
Nathalie Savard, President of the Union of Health Care
Workers in Northeastern Quebec
The majority of our members, 90
percent, who are nurses, nursing assistants and respiratory therapists,
are women. With what we are currently facing in the health care sector,
such as absences for sick days, overtime, the difficulty of balancing
work, family and studies, our conditions are not easy, so celebrating
March 8th has meaning. We have women who fought before us for women's
rights. As women we have a fight to wage in terms of our working
conditions, at the level of public services, and with all that is
happing with the denunciation of abuses, March 8th this year takes on
an even broader meaning.
We are seeing things at the level of denunciation of sexual
abuse, at the level of reporting abuses in our working conditions and
we have to be there and fight as much as needed. We must defend our
living and working conditions and be present in society, especially for
the defence of living conditions in the regions. When we talk about the
women we represent, it is inspiring to see how they are determined to
care for their families, how they want to care for the health of
patients in our regions, how they are concerned about their having
access to good services close to where they live. We are also active
with community organizations so that women's associations, for example,
continue to have the necessary budgets to do their work with people in
As far as we are concerned, what makes our people sick is how
work is organized, overtime, the deficiency of the organization of work
-- all these changes that have been made by a minister who is a doctor
alone in his office alone without any knowledge of the reality facing
the people on the ground. In the face of these problems disciplinary
measures do not solve anything.
We have people who had black shirts made and placed their
employee number on the back in protest. There was nothing else written
on the shirt. The employer advised them that the patients were afraid
of their shirts. They wanted to discipline them. We have people in
James Bay who have had their job titles removed and were given another
title to save money for budget purposes. They are asked to do the same
tasks but paid less. When they refuse saying that it is no longer part
of their job, they have meetings with the employer for insubordination
and disciplinary action is taken against them. It is a reign of terror.
It just aggravates the problems.
All this is being raised this year on the March 8th.
Nathalie Soullière, Construction Worker and
the Electrical Union (FIPOE)
I am a worker member of the Fraternité
inter-provinciale des ouvriers en électricité (FIPOE). I
am an electrician and I also have my welder's cards. I am a member of
the Workers' Committee of FIPOE, a women's group that meets a few times
a year to discuss the various issues women face. Our committee is
mainly for women. Our job is to provide the resources to help them, to
make them aware of the resources that exist to help them. Some women
have difficulty getting accepted into their workplace. There are
employers who do not want women. The committee undertook a survey of
women workers to find out what they expected from the committee. Many
told us that they can't get work, that not all employers are interested
in hiring women. Either they are not hired, or are not called back.
In the construction industry, when the job is finished, it's
"bye-bye, go home." A major problem, and it's not just a problem
for women, is work-family balance. It is not easy for women who
are single parents and for men who are in the same situation,
with the hours we do. For example, tomorrow morning I start
working at 6:30 am in Montreal and I live 45 minutes from my
place of work. There is no daycare open at this time. I'm fine
because my daughters are old enough to be independent, but for
single parents with preschool children, that's a big problem. The
construction industry is not always well suited to these
conditions. I think we need to continue to increase the number of
women in construction, but we have to make sure they have the
training and the knowledge they require.
Statistics on the Situation of Women in Quebec
We are publishing below some statistics that provide a
snapshot on the situation facing women in certain areas: demographics,
education and illiteracy, family life, work, income and physical
- As of January 1, 2017, Quebec's population was estimated at
some 8,351,700 persons compared with 8,283,300 at the beginning
of 2016, an increase of 68,500 inhabitants. Of that number, 4,187,355,
or 50.3 percent of Quebec's
total population is female, with males representing 49.7 percent.
- In 2016, the breakdown into three large age groups for women
was as follows: 15.1 percent were under 15 years of age, 65.2 percent
were between the ages of 15 and 64 and 19.7 percent were 65 and over.
It is estimated that approximately 1,700 Quebeckers are over one
hundred years old, 90 percent of which are women.
- In 2016, life expectancy was set at 80.8 years old
for men and 84.5 years old for women.
- In 2015-2016, girls and
represented 48.8 percent of
young students in general education and 44.9 percent in
- In 2015-2016, 58.0 percent of all students
at the college level were girls and 58.6 percent of those
attending university were women.
- In 2013-2014, 99.0 percent of
girls registered at the secondary school level obtained a diploma
or a high school leaving certificate (compared with 92.0 percent
-In 2015-2016, 76.3 percent of young women registered in
vocational training at the secondary school level were concentrated in
the following three sectors: administration, commerce
and computer technology; healthcare; beauty care.
- Amongst those registered at the college level in a technical
studies program, the studies of over three quarters of young women were
concentrated in three sectors in the fall of 2015. Health Science
attracted the largest number of students (32.9 percent of
registrations). This was followed by Social, Educational and Legal
services (30.4 percent), then Administration, Commerce and Computer
Technology (12.9 percent).
- At the undergraduate level
in university, in 2015-2016, Human Sciences attracted 21.9
percent of young female students and 14.9 percent of young men,
while Administration was comprised of 21.1 percent of young women
and 23.3 percent of young men.
- More and more young women are involved in postgraduate
studies. In 2015, they represented over half of those who had recently
obtained a Masters Degree (56.9 percent). At the PhD level they came
close to achieving parity: 46.7 percent of graduates were women.
- Women represent 76.6 percent
of students in Health Sciences. In the fall of 2015, the majority
of recent graduates in the following sectors were women: Teaching
(81.5 percent), Literature (69.8 percent), Social Sciences (70.2
percent), Law (63.7 percent), Liberal Arts (62.9 percent), and
Administrative Sciences (56.4 percent).
- Regardless of the level of education, upon entering the job
market women earn a gross weakly wage lower than that of men. In 2015
for example, women with a Bachelor's Degree earned on average $899
weekly and those with a Master's Degree earned $1,131. Their male
colleagues earned respectively $1,000 and $1,307. This translates into
women earning on average per week 89.9 percent of what their male
counterparts with a bachelor's degree earned and 86.5 percent of the
gross salary of men entering the workforce with a Master's degree.
- More women than men have a university degree.
In 2015, within the population aged between 25 and 64 years old,
34.5 percent of women had obtained a certificate, a diploma or a
university degree compared to 26.9 percent of men. That gap is
widening within the younger population: 43.0 percent of women
between the ages of 25 and 34 and 26.9 percent of men within the
same age group had a university degree.
No less than 53 percent of Quebeckers between the ages of 16
and 65 are considered functionally illiterate. This means that
they are incapable of comprehending a simple text with a minimum of
words. Of that number, 20 percent can neither read nor write. Another
19 percent of Quebeckers are considered illiterate (literacy levels -1
and 1) and 34.3 percent have great difficulty reading and
are considered at literacy level 2.
- 10 percent are between 16
and 25 years old
- 39 percent are between the ages of 26 and 46
- 51 percent are between 46 and 65 years old
Only 31 percent of those at level 1 are immigrants (16 to 65
years old). Immigrants often are more highly educated than the average
Quebecker. In fact, education constitutes an important criterion
in obtaining the right to immigrate to Quebec. They therefore are
very competent in reading and writing in the their mother tongue.
However they have difficulty with the French language and
therefore require more courses in French than they do in
- Women in Quebec gave birth to 86,400 children in 2016,
compared with 86,000 in 2015. The median age of women giving birth was
30.6 years old in 2016 compared with 27.3 years old in 1976. Fertility
amongst women aged 30-34 recently surpassed that of women between the
ages of 25-29. In 2016, the average age of mothers giving birth to a
first child was 29 years old, 31.1 years at the time of birth of their
second child and 32.6 at the time of their third.
- Close to two infants out of three were born out of
wedlock in Quebec in 2016. In 2006 this was the case with 60
percent of newborns and was over 50 percent in 1995. The
percentage of births where at least one parent was born outside
of Quebec increased from 21 to 31 percent between 2000 and 2016.
- Out of the 2,203,625 families registered during the census
2011, 907,725 (41.2 percent) were two-parent families with
children and 365,510 were single parent (16.6 percent). Couples
without children accounted for 42.2 percent of the total.
2011, 76.0 percent of single-parent families had women as the sole
2011, 17.1 percent of women 15 years and older lived
alone, compared with 15.8 percent of men. That number has
increased over the last 20 years: in 1991, only 13.0 percent of
women and 10.5 percent of men lived alone.
- The vast majority
of women between the ages of 25 and 54 whose youngest child is 12
years old or less holds a job. In 2016, that was the case for
70.2 percent of women who were single parents and 81.5 percent of
women living with a spouse. Compared with 2014, the rate of
employment for single mothers therefore decreased by 3 percentage
points, while that of mothers living with a spouse increased
(73.6 percent of single mothers and 79.8 percent of mothers with
a spouse were working in 2014). In 1996, that portion was
represented by 53.2 and 63.5 percent respectively.
- In 2016, employment increased slightly for women, while it
slightly decreased for men. Within the population aged 15 years and
older, the employment rate was 57.0 percent for women (+0.3 percentage
points) (-0.1 percentage points) for men.
- In 2016
the unemployment rate for women was lower than that of men: 6.0
percent compared with 8.1 percent respectively. Within the age
group of 15 years old and over, 60.7 percent of women were part
of the workforce (compared to 68.6 percent for men).
- Women active in the workforce without a high school diploma
was 25.5 percent in 2016 (compared to 45.2 percent for men). 77 percent
of those women had a university diploma, a rate statistically
equivalent to that of men, at 77.1 percent.
- In 2016, 75.2 percent of salaried women aged 15 years and
over held a full time job, compared with 87.8 percent of men. For
salaried women therefore, it was twice as probable that they held a
part-time job, than it was for men: this was the case for 24.8 percent
of women, compared with 12.2 percent for men.
Rate of Unionization
- The percentage of
women workers with a collective agreement continued to increase,
surpassing that of men in 2016: it climbed from 38.4 percent in
2011 to 39.3 percent in 2016. For men the rate has decreased,
dropping from 39.7 percent in 2011 to 37.9 percent in 2016.
2016, 11.0 percent of women holding a job were self-employed,
compared with 15.6 percent of men.
- The proportion of women in
the ten main professional categories of the female workforce (in
early childhood education, primary and secondary education,
sales, personal care, general office work, etc.) was 75.3 percent
in 2016, compared with 66.6 percent of men in the same
- More and more women are choosing traditionally
male professions that fall under a professional order. In 2016,
they made up over a third of all architects (37.3 percent) and
close to half of dentists (46.3 percent), doctors (44.9 percent)
and accountants (45.3 percent). They also made up the majority of
lawyers (51.9 percent), as well as veterinarians (61.9 percent),
notaries (62.6 percent) and pharmacists (65.6 percent).
- In Canada, women continue to find themselves in jobs that
pay less than those of their male counterparts, earning on average less
than $20 per hour. For example, women occupy 97 percent of all domestic
jobs, of which 80 percent belong to immigrants. Most part-time jobs are
occupied by women, as it is they who they carry out almost all domestic
or family caregiver tasks.
- In 2016, the average weekly wage earned by women working
full time corresponded to 85.4 percent of that of men. Between
2000 and 2010, that percentage point climbed from 78.4 to 83.8
- In comparing the average hourly wage of women and men,
we see that the gap has widened. In 2016, women earned on average
$22.74 per hour, compared to $25.67 per hour for men. Their
earnings represented 88.6 percent of those of men whereas in
2015, they represented 90.1 percent of those of men.
- According to
Statistics Canada, women earn on average 0.87 cents of every
dollar that men earn, based strictly on hourly wages. When
calculated on the basis of yearly wages, for every dollar earned
by men, women earn only 0.74 cents.
- In 2016, women made up
58.5 percent of all minimum wage earners, which constitutes an
increase when compared with 56.7 percent in 2015.
- In January
2017, 153,483 women received last-resort financial assistance,
compared with 177,258 men.
- In 2014, 37.9 percent of women who
reported an income earned less than $20,000 per year, compared
with 27.3 percent of men in the same situation.
- In 2014, 2.8
percent of women who reported an income and dependents earned
income higher than $100,000, compared to 7.7 percent of men with
Violence Against Women
- In 2014, the police registered
18,746 crimes committed
against persons within a domestic context. In 78.5 percent of
cases, the victim was a woman.
- The rate of declared offences
committed within a domestic context dropped by 5.4 percent
between 2012 and 2014. However, it rose by 14.2 percent between
2008 and 2012.
- Every six days, a woman dies in Canada as a
result of domestic violence. Each year, the Canadian Network of
Women's Shelters and Transitional Houses provides a "day in the life"
look at women and children in need of shelter. On
that day in 2017, 44 percent of shelters were full.
That day, 356 women and 250 children requested shelter services
from 105 houses and shelters. The vast majority, that is 273
women and 182 children, were told there was no more space.
Quebec in 2015, 3,870 sexual assaults were reported, 328 more
than in 2014. Women are very largely over-represented in such
cases (in 2014, 86.5 percent of victims of those offences were
women). On the Island of Montreal, 1, 299 cases of sexual assault
were reported in 2015. This represents a significant increase
(+17 percent) as the police reported 189 more cases than in 2014.
- According to Statistics Canada's Social Survey on
553 000 sexual assaults were reported by victims in 2014. In the
vast majority of cases, those victims were women.
- There are
three times more cases of violence committed against Indigenous
women, compared with those who are non-Native. The Native Women's
Association of Canada (NWAC) and Walk 4 Justice have established
that there are over 4,000 missing and murdered Indigenous women
- Based on a survey carried out amongst high school
students, one out of five girls reported at least one episode of sexual
violence on the part of their partner (compared with one out of 15 for
Sources : Council on the Status of Women, Statistics
Canada, TML, Literacy Foundation
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