West Coast LEAF released its 10th annual report card on the rights of women in BC. Photo courtesy West Coast LEAF.

West Coast LEAF released its 10th annual report card on the rights of women in BC. Photo courtesy West Coast LEAF.

Marks range from A- in child care to D- in the categories of prison and violence in a report card on the rights of women in B.C.

West Coast Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (WCLEAF) released it’s 10th annual report card and says although the province has improved in six areas, progress is needed to meet international obligations to women’s human rights.

The report card is an evaluation of B.C.’s adherence to human rights standards laid out in the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Report card author and manager of Public Legal Education Alana Prochuk says the report is being released on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women.

Thursday marks the 29th anniversary of the murders of 14 women at Montreal’s École Polytechnique in 1989.

WCLEAF says childcare obligations have shown encouraging progress and has given B.C. an A- grade.

The organization says with the province’s plan to implement universal childcare, this is the first time in a generation that parents are paying less for the service.

But the lowest grades came in rights of women in prison and violence against women, both getting a D- grade.

WCLEAF says BC has “failed to take adequate action against the over-incarceration of Indigenous people, especially Indigenous women and girls.”

The report says there are concerns of backwards steps to uphold the rights of transgender inmates.

Prochuk said the low grade in the violence category is disappointing, which includes the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

“Indigenous women and girls continue to experience disproportionately high rates of violence. BC’s inadequate funding initiatives fail to meet the need for sustainable, culturally appropriate violence prevention and healing programs,” Prochuk said in a release.

Other categories in the report card include justice, employment, health, housing, poverty and the addition of child protection.

“Although BC has taken some significant steps forward in the past year, we’re far from having a society where women and girls are fully respected and their needs are met,” Director of Law Reform Elba Bendo said in a release.

“We need to keep holding the BC government accountable to addressing gender inequality and fulfil international obligations to uphold human rights.”

Province calls for new ‘Giving Voice’ applicants to address the issue of violence against Indigenous women

Within an hour of the West Coast LEAF report card on women’s rights in BC, the province announced it is looking for applicants for its “Giving Voice” project.

The project provides funding for community groups and organizations who want to host or participate in events to address the issue of violence against Indigenous women and girls and help with community mobilization and implementation.

The Indigenous relations and reconciliation ministry’s advisory council on Indigenous women (MACIW) have been advising the B.C. government on ways to end violence against First Nations’ women since 2013.

Between 2013 and 2016, the ministry says Giving Voice has supported 50 projects for more than 2,000 participants throughout the province.

The government says $400,000 is available to support projects for the next two years.

The projects deliver support groups, organizations and individuals to connect with violence and abuse victims, and offers a platform to share and learn from each other’s stories.

Applications can be made until Jan. 14.

CHEK