Bev Oda is defending a government decision to drop equality from the stated list of goals for her department, Status of Women Canada. ((Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press))

Status of Women Minister Bev Oda faced tough grilling Thursday over theConservative government'sdecision to no longer fund women's groups that lobby or conduct research on behalf of women.

The Conservatives' reforms also includedropping the word "equality" from the stated goals of Status of Women Canada, a move that sparked anger from opposition MPs.

At the Status of Women parliamentary committee on Thursday, New Democrat MP Irene Mathyssen accused Oda of not fulfilling her mandate and demandedher resignation from the ministry.

"Equality is not being promoted here and you are letting down Canadian women,"Mathyssen said.

"Until and unless you're prepared to do your job, we need someone else in that role."

During Question Period, Liberal MP Maria Minna slammed the Toriesfor the funding cuts, accusing them of being "anti-women."

"The Conservatives have put a tape over women's mouths and shut them up," she said.

Complaints dismissed

But Oda dismissed the complaints, saying that millions of dollars have been spent on multiple reports in the past with few results.

"We can all articulate and identify the issues, which I think has been clearly done for many, many years…. What we're saying is now's the time to perform actions."

She said the Conservatives have taken action in just eight short months, "unlike the previous Liberal government who received multiple reports and recommendations and did nothing."

Instead of funding advocacy groups, Oda said taxpayers' dollars should go toward programs that" help women in their daily lives, to help them in their communities."

She used the example of skills training and mentoring programs for women as examples of the kinds of service-oriented projects the government preferred to fund.

She also suggested that corporations that applied for money for women's scholarships or apprenticeships could be eligible for the first time.

With files from the Canadian Press