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What Is Our Government Doing to Advance Women's Rights?

03/08/2015 10:23 EDT | Updated 05/08/2015 05:59 EDT
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A woman holds up her hand as she waits to be silhouetted with white chalk during a performance by Spanish Artist Irisarri at ARCO, the international contemporary Art fair in Madrid, Spain, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. The ARCO art fair will run from Feb. 25 to March 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

March 8 is International Women's Day.

Unfortunately, recent events in our world have not given us a whole lot to celebrate. Female genital mutilation is a serious problem in places like the U.K., women and girls are being kidnapped en masse by extremists, and ISIS is determined to strip females of their personhood.

Domestically, the picture isn't rosy either. Death by domestic violence is on the rise, sex trafficking is a growing problem and thanks to social media "rape culture" is more prevalent than ever.

It is clear that even in 2015, there is a lot of work to be done both at home and abroad to advance the rights and equality of women.

Let's take a peek at what the federal political parties in this country are doing to make a difference.

Over in the Liberal camp, MP Mauril Belanger has tabled a bill to change the lyrics of Canada's national anthem to make it gender neutral by removing gendered terms like "sons." In a 1,205 word speech delivered in the House of Commons by Liberal MP and one time Liberal Leader Stephane Dion, he states "it is a seemingly simple bill, perhaps one of the simplest bills we have ever debated in this House."

Too bad the real issues facing women's equality in this country aren't simple. They are complicated, and can't be fixed by altering a word or two on paper.

What about the NDP? They have always been outspoken champions of women's equality -- surely they are working on something that will make a real difference in the lives of women, right? NDP MP Irene Mathyssen has tabled a private member's bill aimed at abolishing the GST on women's menstrual products like tampons. According to proponents of this bill, female hygiene product taxes are discriminatory.

Too bad that tax free tampons won't do anything to stop the discrimination faced by women everyday in places like the workplace and even on school campus.

Last but not least, what has the Conservative Party been up to? Well, the Minister of Health Rona Ambrose recently invested $100 million dollars towards the fight against domestic violence. The money will go towards helping the victims of family violence and preventing violence. It will make a real, tangible difference in the lives of women for years to come.

Alright Liberals and NDP, either step up your game or give credit where credit is due by joining forces with the government to put an end to violence against women.

Cheaper tampons and lyric editing are simply not the best use of parliament's time and resources when women still face very serious issues that impede their safety and equality.

Making the country, and the world, an equal and safe place for women should be a non-partisan goal. On International Women's Day 2015, let's see all parties take a stand against domestic violence, and pledge to work together to fight it.

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