Royal Commission on the Status of Women
The Royal Commission on the Status of Women was a Canadian Royal Commission that examined the status of women and recommended steps that might be taken by the federal government to ensure equal opportunities with men and women in all aspects of Canadian society. The Commission commenced on 16 February 1967 as an initiative of Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson. Public sessions were conducted the following year to accept public comment for the Commission to consider as it formulated its recommendations. Florence Bird was the Commission's chair.
The Commission discovered that:
- in 1970 only 3.9% of managers were women.
- although 8 out of 10 provinces had equal-pay laws, women were still paid less than men for doing the same work
- two thirds of people that were on welfare were women
In 1970 a report came out with 167 recommendations to ensure that men and women had equal opportunities. Some recommendations were:
- "gender" and "marital status" be prohibited as grounds for discrimination by employers
- training programs offered by the federal government be made more open to women
- the federal government name more women judges to all courts within its jurisdiction
- more qualified women from each province be appointed to the Senate as seats became vacant, until a more equitable balance between men and women were achieved
- employed women be granted eighteen weeks of unemployment benefits for maternity leave.
- Birth control
- Day care
- Educational opportunities for women
As a result, the Commission helped establish an agenda of reform for women's-rights groups in the 1970s.
The Commissioners appointed were:
- Florence Bird (chairperson)
- Elsie MacGill
- Lola M. Lange
- Jeanne Lapointe
- Doris Ogilvie
- Donald R. Gordon, Jr (resigned from Commission)
- Jacques Henripin
- John Peters Humphrey (appointed following Gordon's resignation)
- Newman, Garfield. Canada: A Nation Unfolding. Ontario. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited, 2000.