International Women’s Day March

March 27, 2000

The Right Hon. Jean Chretien,
Prime Minister of Canada
Langevin Building,
80 Wellington Street,
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A2

Dear Sir:

I have been asked to write to you expressing the appreciation members of National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC) felt on reading your Statement issued on the occasion of International Women’s Day, March 8. We note in your first paragraph a clear acknowledgement that women’s work is often unseen, besides being unpaid and uncounted, as a meaningful contribution to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product. It is gratifying that this realization informs the thinking of the Prime Minister of our land.

However, I have been asked to add that it was regrettable that on this important date, Canada did not announce it’s signature on the Optional Protocol to the Convention for the Elimination of all Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The NCWC Representative to the United Nations (NCWC is an NGO in Consultative Status with ECOSOC) has informed me that at the closing Plenary, it was announced that six more states were signatories now to this document, bringing it much closer to entering into force. NCWC hopes that Canada will sign soon, but regrets that such an auspicious occasion as IWD was missed. It is to be hoped that this does not suggest waiting until next year, however.

NCWC finds this delay rather strange because Canada has been a tireless worker to advance recognition of Women’s Human Rights nationally and internationally, both de jure and de facto. Members hope that Canada’s accession to the Optional Protocol will be announced soon, thus completing the hard work done by the Canadian negotiators over a period of five years. NGO representatives from other states who asked, were surprised to learn that Canada had still not signed.

National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC), founded in 1893, the pioneer organization in the women’s movement, is a non-sectarian, non-partisan federation of voluntary organizations, whose goal is to improve the quality of life for women, families and society, through education and advocacy.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Hutchinson
President
The National Council of Women of Canada

Cc: Hon. Lloyd Axworthy
Hon. Hedy Fry

Prepared by: Catharine Laidlaw-Sly, Vice President, NCWC

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