Sudbury·Audio

Federal election 2015: Sudbury YWCA town hall focuses on women's issues

Women's issues in the federal election came to the forefront Thursday night at a town hall in Sudbury.
Panelists at the Sudbury YWCA town hall on women's issues included Carol Kauppi, Laurentian University, Joey-Lynn Wabie, Health Sciences North and Laurentian University, Jennifer Johnson, assistant professor in women's studies at Thorneloe University, Noreen McChesney, childcare advocate, and Marlene Gorman, executive director of YWCA. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)
The YWCA in Sudbury hosted a town hall on women's issues in the federal election. One issue raised was pay equity and another was the creation of a national action plan on violence against women and girls. We have audio from the town hall on both issues. 5:59

Women's issues in the federal election came to the forefront Thursday night at a town hall in Sudbury.

Homelessness, pay equity and a need for universal childcare were among the topics discussed.

The event was hosted by the YWCA, a charity and volunteer women's organization.

The association's executive director, Marlene Gorman, called on election candidates to push for a national action plan on violence against women and girls.

"The focus has to be on educating children, youth and adults on human rights and violence against women and girls through promoting understanding of healthy relationships, consent and rape culture, breaking down sexual assault myths," she said.

Gorman noted the United Nations asked all countries to develop such a strategy by 2015 — but Canada hasn't developed a plan yet.

Child care largely dominated the discussion.

Panelists and audience members called for a universal daycare strategy.

Jennifer Johnson, an assistant professor of women's studies at Thorneloe University, said a national plan would alleviate the stress of finding quality care for children.  She said it would also recognize the unpaid work that many people take on to care for someone else's child.

"The federal government has, in fact, devalued the work that many parents do without pay in our homes by suggesting that a few hundred dollars distributed to every family — regardless of income — covers the trust cost of this care," she said.

Johnson also asked people to consider pay equity when they go to the polls.

Quoting various statistics, she said Canadian men get paid about 20 per cent more than women.

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