From outrage to action | Collectif 8 mars meets with minister Martine Biron

February 14, 2024

Image From outrage to action | Collectif 8 mars meets with minister Martine Biron

Québec City – As part of its activities to mark International Women’s Rights Day, the Collectif 8 mars met yesterday with the minister responsible for the status of women, Martine Biron. With its powerful theme for this year, Rising up!, the Collectif wanted to discuss with the minister the crises, inequality and violence that are obstacles to equality between women and men, as well as among women themselves. The minister recognized the significance of the theme and the need to express our indignation.

The meeting was a chance to take stock of the challenges women still face today. Minister Biron signalled her intention to take action to facilitate access to abortion and fight intimate partner violence. “We are counting on the minister to inform her colleague Jean Boulet, minister of labour, so that he can establish a bank of 10 days of paid leave for victims of intimate partner violence through Bill 42, which is currently under review,” said Virginie Mikaelian, spokesperson for the Collectif 8 mars.

The Collectif 8 mars also presented the reality of women experiencing homelessness. Exacerbated by the housing crisis, homelessness affects women specifically and disproportionately. And yet, the solutions to address it are known. “We need to get at the root of the problem by speeding up construction of more social housing,” said Mikaelian. “That is a structural measure to tackle homelessness.”

The issue of maintaining accessible, quality public services was broached early in the meeting. The Collectif argued that women, as workers and users of public services, suffer the greatest impacts when the quality of heath care and social services and education is undermined. “We would have liked to talk more about the erosion of public services and our concerns about recent reforms in education and health and social services,” said Mikaelian.

The minister responsible for the status of women was very receptive to the information presented. The Collectif 8 mars urges her to use the instruments at her disposal as minister to intervene on all issues that affect women, be it the economy, the environment, housing or health and social services. Its members would like to continue the conversation and to propose possible solutions to defend the rights of all women in Québec.

The Collectif 8 mars brings together labour unions and independent feminist community organizations representing nearly 800,000 women, 17 regional roundtables on the status of women, and more than 450 women’s and mixed-gender groups.