Is equality the answer to re-claiming the dignity of women?

The following article mentions again that women need greater “equality”.  I am rather uncomfortable with this language because it implies that women are the same, which supposes that the sexes are interchangeable.  Is the answer to re-claiming the dignity of women simply “equality”?  Comment in with your feedback!

By David Akin, Canwest News Service 10.21.09

OTTAWA, CANADA — Opposition leader Michael Ignatieff promised Wednesday to put equality for women at the centre of his party’s policy platform in the next general election, calling a set of policy proposals to improve the lives of Canadian women “the conscience of the Liberal party.”

“This is a party that’s always understood the challenges faced by women,” Ignatieff said.

The Liberal women’s caucus — the 39 female Liberal MPs and senators —released the third edition Wednesday of their Pink Book, a volume of about 40 pages which, as it did in the Pink Books of 2006 and 2007, contains a series of Liberal policy positions to improve the lives of Canadian women.

As it did last year, the women’s caucus paid particular attention to policies that would help aboriginal women, a group that several studies has shown has been particularly marginalized because of gender and racial discrimination.

Broadly speaking, the Pink Book’s policy proposals are aimed at helping any Canadian involved in caring for children or those caring for an aging parent, tasks that continue to fall primarily to women in most Canadian households.

“This is not just an issue for women,” Ignatieff said. “This book represents the conscience of the Liberal Party of Canada.”

As it has been since the first Pink Book was published in 2006, the top priority for the women’s caucus is the establishment of a national daycare strategy with particular emphasis on increasing daycare spaces for rural families.

“It’s not the job of the Liberal party to tell Canadian families how to raise their children but to give them choices so they don’t feel the challenge of care weighing down on them,” Ignatieff said.

Winnipeg MP Anita Neville, who is also her party’s critic on women’s issues, said policy proposals put forward by her group have been developed with an eye toward the changing role of women in society, that a record number of women are in the workforce, for example, yet are still the chief caregivers in their household.

“Government policies and laws continue to rely on an outdated view of what the Canadian family looks like,” Neville said. “Since the Harper government came to power, Canadian women have suffered.”

Some of the new policies in this year’s Pink Book include:

– Establishing micro-credit facilities — banks that would be prepared to lend just a few hundred dollars — aimed at helping female entrepreneurs.

– Re-establish a national literacy secretariat.

– Set up a national toll-free telephone line for women who are suffering abuse.

– Establish a seniors commissioner to advise the prime minister on issues affecting older Canadians.

– Establish a gender equality commissioner who would report to Parliament.

Ignatieff declined to put a price tag on all these initiatives, saying only that his party would present a complete costing of its platform at election time.

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