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Canada’s non-compliance with the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women… Meitz, Stephanie Frances 2015

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CANADA’S	  NON-­‐COMPLIANCE	  WITH	  THE	  CONVENTION	  ON	  ELIMINATION	  OF	  ALL	  FORMS	  OF	  DISCRIMINATION	  AGAINST	  WOMEN	  (CEDAW):	  NEO-­‐LIBERAL	  POLICY	  AND	  THE	  SUPPRESSION	  OF	  WOMEN’S	  RIGHTS	  IN	  CANADA	  	  by	  	  STEPHANIE	  FRANCES	  MEITZ	  	  B.A.,	  Concordia	  University,	  2010	  	  	  	  	  A	  THESIS	  SUBMITTED	  IN	  PARTIAL	  FULFILLMENT	  OF	  THE	  REQUIREMENTS	  FOR	  THE	  DEGREE	  OF	  	  MASTER	  OF	  ARTS	  	  in	  	  	  THE	  FACULTY	  OF	  GRADUATE	  AND	  POSTDOCTORAL	  STUDIES	  	  (Political	  Science)	  	  	  	  	  	  	  THE	  UNIVERSITY	  OF	  BRITISH	  COLUMBIA	  (Vancouver)	  	  	  September	  2015	  	  	  ©	  Stephanie	  Frances	  Meitz,	  2015	    ii Abstract	  	  “Autonomous	  feminist	  movements	  are	  the	  primary	  drivers	  of	  change	  because	  they	  articulate	  social	  group	  perspectives,	  disseminate	  new	  ideas	  and	  frames	  to	  the	  broader	  public,	  and	  demand	  institutional	  changes	  that	  recognize	  these	  meanings”-­‐	  Htun	  and	  Weldon1	  	   In	  1981,	  Canada	  ratified	  the	  Convention	  of	  Elimination	  of	  Discrimination	  Against	  Women	  (CEDAW)	  in	  what	  would	  be	  perceived	  as	  an	  attempt	  to	  create	  a	  more	  just	  and	  equal	  society	  for	  women.	  However,	  with	  the	  implementation	  of	  harsh	  neo-­‐liberal	  policies	  that	  emphasize	  privatization	  and	  minimal	  government	  intervention,	  women	  in	  Canada,	  particularly	  those	  most	  disadvantaged,	  are	  facing	  human	  rights	  violations.	  The	  past	  decade	  has	  been	  especially	  damaging	  as	  Canada’s	  conservative	  government	  led	  by	  Stephen	  Harper	  made	  drastic	  funding	  cuts	  to	  women’s	  organizations	  and	  serious	  cutbacks	  to	  social	  services	  through	  austerity	  measures.	  These	  neo-­‐liberal	  policies	  are	  not	  only	  incompatible	  with	  the	  CEDAW,	  but	  are	  in	  direct	  opposition	  to	  its	  mandate,	  and	  democratic	  values	  in	  general.	  I	  will	  outline	  the	  recommendations	  made	  by	  CEDAW	  to	  the	  State	  of	  Canada,	  and	  discuss	  the	  State’s	  blatant	  disregard	  towards	  the	  CEDAW	  and	  its	  principles	  of	  eliminating	  discrimination	  against	  women.	  I	  will	  describe	  the	  actions	  that	  the	  Canadian	  government,	  specifically	  the	  current	  conservative	  government,	  has	  taken	  to	  intentionally	  hinder	  the	  advancement	  of	  women’s	  rights.	  I	  will	  argue	  that	  that	  these	  violations	  are	  an	  attempt	  to	  suppress	  threats	  to	  the	  current	  politico-­‐economic	  system,	  neo-­‐liberalism,	  which,	  I	  will	  argue,	  is	  inherently	  discriminatory.	  I	  will	  further	  argue	  that,	  especially	  in	  light	  of	  its	  colonial	  past	  and	  neo-­‐colonial	  present,	  Canada	  must	                                                  1 Htun, Mala, and S. Laurel Weldon. 2012. “The Civic Origins of Progressive Policy Change: Combating Combating Violence against Women in Global Perspective, 1975-2005,” American Political Science Review 106, no.3 (2012): p.5    iii support	  autonomous	  women’s	  rights	  movements	  and	  provide	  extensive	  social	  services	  if	  an	  effort	  to	  eliminate	  discrimination	  against	  women	  is	  to	  be	  made.	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	    iv Preface	  This	  thesis	  is	  an	  original,	  unpublished,	  independent	  work	  by	  the	  author,	  S.	  Meitz	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	    v Table	  of	  Contents	  	  Abstract……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..…ii	  	  Preface……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..................iv	  	  Table	  of	  Contents…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..v	  	  Acknowledgements……………………………………………………………………………………………..........................vi	  	  Chapter	  One:	  Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………………………..1	  	  Chapter	  Two:	  Canada’s	  Commitment	  to	  CEDAW:	  Non-­‐Compliance	  and	  Violations..............................8	  	  	   2.1	  2015	  CEDAW	  Report:	  Canada………………………………………………………………………………..9	  	   2.2	  2008	  CEDAW’s	  Concluding	  Observations:	  Canada………………………………………………..10	  	   2.3	  2003	  CEDAW	  Committee	  Press	  Release:	  Canada………………………………………………….12	  	   2.4	  Negligence	  in	  Addressing	  Systematic	  Discrimination………………………………..................16	  	  Chapter	  Three:	  Neo-­‐Liberalism…………………………………………………………………………………………….18	  	  	   3.1	  Value	  Shaping…………………………………………………………………………………………………….20	  	   3.2	  Canadian	  Neo-­‐liberalism…………………………………………………………………………………….22	  	   3.3	  Austerity	  Measures…………………………………………………………………………………………….25	  	   3.4	  Legal	  Aid……………………………………………………………………………………………………………26	  	  Chapter	  Four:	  Funding	  Cuts…………………………………………………………………………………………………29	  	  	   4.1	  Status	  of	  Women	  Canada…………………………………………………………………………………….30	  	   4.2	  A	  Re-­‐Direction	  of	  Funding:	  Corporate	  Interests………………………………………..................32	  	   4.3	  National	  Standards	  for	  the	  Provision	  of	  Funding………………………………………………….35	  	  Chapter	  Five:	  Comparative	  Case	  Illustrations………………………………………………………………………..35	  	  	   5.1	  Russia………………………………………………………………………………………………………………...36	  	   5.2	  Greece………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..38	  	   5.3	  United	  Kingdom………………………………………………………………………………………………….39	  	  Chapter	  Six:	  Elimination	  Discrimination	  Against	  Women:	  Importance	  of	  Autonomous	  Social	  Movements	  and	  Social	  Services…………………………………………………………………………………………….41	  	  	   6.1	  Violence	  Against	  Women…………………………………………………………………………………….42	  	   6.2	  Mechanisms	  of	  Accountability,	  Shaping	  Progressive	  Policy…………………………………..43	  	  Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..45	  	  Bibliography………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..47	  	  	    vi Acknowledgments	  “I	  write	  for	  those	  women	  who	  do	  not	  speak,	  for	  those	  who	  do	  not	  have	  a	  voice	  because	  they	  were	  so	  terrified,	  because	  we	  are	  taught	  to	  respect	  fear	  more	  than	  ourselves.	  We’ve	  been	  taught	  that	  silence	  would	  save	  us,	  but	  it	  won’t.”	  -­‐Audre	  Lorde	  	   I	  would	  first	  like	  to	  acknowledge	  the	  support,	  understanding,	  and	  patience	  of	  my	  supervisor,	  Lisa	  Sundstrom.	  Without	  you	  I	  would	  not	  have	  completed	  this	  degree.	  You	  offered	  endless	  support	  and	  understanding	  during	  the	  most	  difficult	  times.	  Thank	  you	  for	  the	  wonderful	  conversations	  and	  always	  being	  available	  to	  listen.	  You	  are	  truly	  an	  inspiring	  woman.	  I	  was	  also	  fortunate	  to	  have	  Barbara	  Arneil	  as	  my	  examiner.	  I	  did	  not	  know	  Barbara	  well	  but	  remembered	  her	  fondly	  from	  a	  gender	  meeting	  I	  attended.	  She	  is	  outspoken	  and	  intelligent.	  Without	  the	  support	  and	  incredible	  feedback	  of	  these	  women,	  writing	  about	  what	  I	  feel	  so	  passionately	  about	  may	  not	  have	  been	  possible.	  	  	   Entering	  the	  program	  as	  a	  poor	  single	  mother,	  I	  was	  well	  aware	  that	  I	  would	  face	  challenges,	  what	  I	  did	  not	  anticipate	  was	  that	  these	  challenges	  would	  extend	  beyond	  financial	  burdens	  and	  a	  lack	  of	  time	  to	  uphold	  all	  my	  responsibilities.	  My	  intention	  was	  to	  use	  the	  acknowledgment	  section	  as	  an	  open	  letter	  to	  acknowledge	  the	  obstacles	  and	  discrimination	  I	  faced,	  and	  discovered,	  amongst	  students,	  faculty,	  and	  the	  university	  at	  large.	  But	  the	  truth	  is	  that	  I	  no	  longer	  have	  the	  time	  or	  money	  to	  invest	  into	  the	  education	  system	  and	  for	  every	  day	  that	  I	  do	  not	  submit	  this	  thesis,	  I	  pay.	  But	  I	  will	  say	  this;	  the	  education	  system	  is	  deeply	  deficient	  and	  is	  unwilling	  to	  acknowledge	  these	  deficiencies.	  The	  history	  of	  my	  department	  alone	  in	  addressing	  issues	  around	  sexism	  and	  racism	  are	  abysmal.	  I	  do	  not	  discuss	  it	  in	  my	  thesis,	  but	  the	  competitiveness	  and	  arrogance	  that	  is	  prevalent	  within	  neo-­‐liberalism	  is	  widely	  embraced	  within	  our	  educational	  institutions.	  These	  attitudes	  do	  not	  permit	  us	  to	  effectively	  engage	  with	  one	  another	  thereby	  hindering	  progress.	  There	  are	  fantastic	  people	  in	  the	  department	  who	  are	  well	  aware	  of	  these	  issues	  yet	  there	  is	  not	  enough	  support	  to	  make	  adequate	  changes.	  I	  will	  not	  go	  into	  details	  about	  my	  experiences	  for	  various	  reasons,	  however,	  the	  university	  can	  be	  rest	  assured	  that	  I	  will	  not	  remain	  silent	  about	  them.	  	  	   I	  would	  however	  like	  to	  thank	  the	  following	  people	  for	  their	  time,	  wisdom,	  friendships	  and	  endless	  support	  in	  helping	  me	  finish	  my	  degree:	  	  	  My	  daughter,	  Oneida,	  you	  were	  with	  me	  every	  step	  of	  the	  way.	  No	  one	  has	  supported	  me	  more	  than	  you.	  Despite	  being	  so	  young	  you	  made	  conscious	  decisions	  to	  provide	  me	  with	  the	  time	  and	  space	  to	  work.	  You	  slept	  beside	  me	  while	  I	  worked,	  hugged	  me	  while	  I	  worked,	  and	  even	  pretended	  to	  work	  beside	  me	  while	  I	  worked.	  Your	  maturity	  far	  surpasses	  that	  of	  most	  children	  and	  I	  am	  infinitely	  lucky	  to	  have	  you	  as	  my	  daughter.	  No	  words	  can	  possibly	  express	  the	  love	  and	  gratitude	  I	  have	  for	  you.	  I	  would	  also	  like	  to	  thank	  my	  husband.	  Although	  you	  were	  not	  always	  keen	  on	  how	  much	  time	  I	  needed	  to	  devote	  to	  this	  degree,	  it	  did	  not	  sway	  you	  from	  helping	  out	  in	  every	  way	  to	  make	  its	  completion	  possible.	  	    vii I	  would	  also	  like	  to	  thank	  professors	  Paul	  Mier,	  Edward	  King,	  Bela	  Egyed,	  and	  Noga	  Gayle	  who	  inspired	  me	  every	  step	  of	  the	  way	  to	  love	  learning.	  Thank	  you	  for	  being	  amazing	  teachers,	  you	  are	  few	  and	  far	  between.	  	  	  Lastly,	  and	  definitely	  not	  least,	  I	  would	  like	  to	  thank	  my	  friends	  and	  peers.	  I	  moved	  to	  Nelson	  last	  year	  and	  received	  a	  great	  amount	  of	  support	  from	  my	  community.	  My	  bosses	  and	  co-­‐workers	  provided	  flexibility	  unheard	  of	  in	  the	  workplace.	  Thank	  you	  to	  my	  friends	  at	  the	  Kootenay	  Co-­‐op,	  especially	  Paul,	  Pat,	  and	  Cindy.	  Thank	  you	  for	  listening	  to	  me	  talk	  endlessly	  about	  my	  degree	  and	  providing	  me	  with	  the	  time	  to	  complete	  it.	  Thank	  you	  to	  Fitz	  and	  Marty	  for	  continuing	  to	  have	  faith	  in	  my	  abilities	  despite	  my	  absences.	  Thank	  you	  to	  Amy,	  Chris,	  Mel,	  Nat,	  Amber,	  Serjao,	  Laura,	  Myra,	  Marcelo,	  Krista,	  Lucas,	  and	  all	  your	  children	  for	  spending	  time	  with	  Oneida.	  Knowing	  that	  Oneida	  was	  spending	  time	  with	  such	  incredible	  people	  made	  it	  infinitely	  easier	  to	  re-­‐direct	  my	  energy.	  And	  a	  special	  thank	  you	  to	  Meagan	  Auger.	  Meagan,	  you	  are	  brilliant	  and	  I	  am	  grateful	  for	  all	  our	  enlightening	  conversations.	  Thank	  you	  Spencer	  Grimm	  for	  being	  my	  brother.	  And	  thank	  you	  to	  Becca	  Monnerat,	  Justin	  Alger,	  Charlotte	  Kingston,	  Grace	  Lore,	  Rajdeep	  Gill,	  Eldon	  Yellowhorn,	  Serbulent	  Turan,	  David	  Moscrop,	  and	  Matt	  Wildcat	  for	  your	  insights	  and	  work	  that	  helped	  me	  to	  develop	  mine.	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	    1 1	   Introduction	  Women	  in	  Canada,	  especially	  low-­‐income,	  Aboriginal,	  immigrant	  and	  refugee,	  single	  mothers,	  and	  racialized	  minority	  women,	  have	  faced,	  and	  continue	  to	  face,	  human	  rights	  violations	  deemed	  “grave”	  and	  “systematic”	  by	  the	  Convention	  of	  Elimination	  of	  All	  forms	  of	  Discrimination	  Against	  Women	  (CEDAW),2	  a	  United	  Nations	  treaty	  ratified	  by	  the	  State	  of	  Canada	  in	  1981.	  All	  State	  Parties	  signatory	  to	  International	  Covenants	  on	  Human	  Rights	  “have	  an	  obligation	  to	  ensure	  the	  equal	  rights	  of	  men	  and	  women	  to	  enjoy	  all	  economic,	  social,	  cultural,	  civil	  and	  political	  rights”3	  CEDAW	  defines	  discrimination	  as:	  	  “Any	  distinction,	  exclusion	  or	  restriction	  made	  on	  the	  basis	  of	  sex	  which	  has	  the	  effect	  or	  purpose	  of	  impairing	  or	  nullifying	  the	  recognition,	  enjoyment	  or	  exercise	  by	  women,	  irrespective	  of	  their	  marital	  status,	  on	  the	  basis	  of	  equality	  of	  men	  and	  women,	  of	  human	  rights	  and	  fundamental	  freedoms	  in	  the	  political,	  economic,	  social,	  cultural,	  civil	  or	  any	  other	  field.”4	  	  	  The	  Convention	  further	  emphasizes:	  	  “That	  the	  eradication	  of	  apartheid,	  all	  forms	  of	  racism,	  racial	  discrimination,	  colonialism,	  neo-­‐colonialism,	  aggression,	  foreign	  occupation	  and	  domination	  and	                                                  2 United Nations, The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Report of the inquiry concerning Canada of the Committee of the Elimination of Discrimination against Women under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, CEDAW/C/OP.8/CAN/1 (2015), 3.  3 CEDAW. “Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women”. United Nations (1979). http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/text/econvention.htm. 4 Ibid., Article 1.   2 interference	  in	  the	  internal	  affairs	  of	  States	  is	  essential	  to	  the	  full	  enjoyment	  of	  the	  rights	  of	  men	  and	  women.”5	  	  	   As	  a	  colonial	  State,	  Canada’s	  history	  is	  embedded	  in	  deeply	  discriminatory	  practices,	  and	  with	  the	  implementation	  of	  neo-­‐liberal	  policies	  that	  have	  drastically	  reduced	  funding	  to	  women’s	  organizations	  and	  social	  services,	  women’s	  rights	  are	  being	  suppressed.	  These	  violations	  are	  not	  only	  a	  result	  of	  a	  long	  history	  of	  discrimination	  against	  women,	  but	  are	  strategies	  currently	  being	  used	  in	  an	  effort	  to	  preserve	  the	  neo-­‐liberal	  agenda,	  and	  suppress	  any	  threats	  to	  this	  politico-­‐economic	  system.	  	  An	  ideological	  underpinning	  of	  neo-­‐liberalism,	  minimal	  government	  intervention	  is	  in	  direct	  violation	  of	  the	  CEDAW	  and	  its	  recommendations.	  These	  violations	  are	  the	  result	  of	  the	  implementation	  of	  neo-­‐liberal	  policies	  and	  have	  proven	  to	  have	  disproportionately	  harmful	  effects	  on	  women	  relative	  to	  men.	  	  	   Political	  scientist	  Ann	  Porter	  defines	  neo-­‐liberalism	  as	  “a	  market-­‐based	  political	  ideology;	  one	  that	  emphasizes	  reduced	  government	  intervention,	  free	  market	  forces,	  individual	  responsibility,	  and	  the	  extension	  of	  global	  capitalist	  relations.”6	  However,	  underneath	  the	  neo-­‐liberal	  rhetoric	  of	  economic	  growth,	  employment	  opportunities,	  and	  freedom	  and	  autonomy	  through	  minimal	  government	  intervention	  are	  the	  realities	  of	  increased	  unemployment	  and	  poverty,	  drastic	  cutbacks	  to	  social	  services	  through	  austerity	  measures,	  a	  redirection	  of	  funding	  from	  autonomous	  groups	  to	  organizations	                                                  5 CEDAW. “Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women”. United Nations (1979): Preamble. http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/text/econvention.htm. 6 Ann Porter, “Neo-Conservatism, Neo-Liberalism and Canadian Social Policy: Challenges for Feminism,” Canadian Woman Studies 29, no.3 (2012) 1, 2.   3 that	  sustain	  a	  neo-­‐liberal	  agenda,	  and	  the	  transfer	  of	  power	  into	  the	  hands	  of	  the	  corporate	  elite.	  The	  negative	  consequences	  of	  neo-­‐liberalism	  can	  be	  seen	  both	  domestically	  and	  abroad,	  and	  reveal	  disproportionately	  harmful	  effects	  on	  women	  relative	  to	  men.	  	  	   According	  to	  sociologist	  Couze	  Venn,	  neo-­‐liberalism	  is	  a	  zero-­‐sum	  game.7	  It	  is	  an	  ideology	  that	  functions	  to	  yield	  high	  results	  for	  the	  wealthy	  at	  the	  expense	  of	  others.	  Neo-­‐liberalism	  demands	  that	  certain	  measures	  be	  taken	  in	  order	  to	  preserve	  and	  foster	  this	  agenda.	  By	  drastically	  reducing	  and	  eliminating	  social	  services	  and	  funding	  to	  autonomous	  women’s	  groups	  the	  state	  is	  intentionally	  restricting	  the	  capacity	  of	  women	  to	  effect	  change.	  In	  fact,	  democratic	  theorists	  Mala	  Htun	  and	  S.	  Laurel	  Weldon	  assert	  that	  feminist	  social	  movements	  have	  a	  greater	  impact	  on	  policy	  development	  than	  women	  in	  government.	  They	  argue:	  “Autonomous	  feminist	  movements	  are	  the	  primary	  drivers	  of	  change	  because	  they	  articulate	  social	  group	  perspectives,	  disseminate	  new	  ideas	  and	  frames	  to	  the	  broader	  public,	  and	  demand	  institutional	  changes	  that	  recognize	  these	  meanings.”8	  Therefore,	  supporting	  autonomous	  women’s	  organizations	  is	  an	  essential	  component	  in	  advancing	  women’s	  rights.	  	   As	  a	  signatory	  of	  CEDAW,	  Canada	  agreed	  to	  comply	  with	  the	  CEDAW	  mandate:	  “consisting	  of	  a	  preamble	  and	  30	  articles,	  it	  defines	  what	  constitutes	  discrimination	                                                  7 Couze Venn, “Neoliberal Political Economy, Biopolitics and Colonialism: A Transcolonial Genealogy of Inequality,” Theory, Culture & Society 26, no.6 (2009): 207.  8 Mala Htun, and S.Laurel Weldon, “The Civic Origins of Progressive Policy Change: Combating Violence against Women in Global Perspective, 1975-2005,” American Political Science Review 106, no.3 (2012): 552.   4 against	  women	  and	  sets	  up	  an	  agenda	  for	  national	  action	  to	  end	  such	  discrimination.”9	  In	  addition	  to	  implementing	  de	  jure	  women’s	  rights,	  rights	  we	  have	  in	  theory,	  the	  CEDAW	  mandate	  emphasizes	  the	  importance	  of	  de	  facto	  rights,	  rights	  we	  have	  in	  practice.	  These	  include	  all	  levels	  of	  government	  implementing	  mechanisms	  and	  institutions	  that	  support	  women’s	  rights	  and	  provide	  social	  services	  specifically	  designed	  to	  address	  the	  systemic	  problems	  that	  women	  face;	  and	  to	  eliminate	  existing	  social	  and	  cultural	  practices	  grounded	  in	  ideas	  of	  inferiority	  or	  superiority.10	  Although	  this	  mandate	  is	  framed	  around	  equal	  rights	  and	  opportunity,	  it	  extends	  beyond	  simple	  equality;	  it	  challenges	  systems	  and	  structures	  that	  are	  inherently	  discriminatory.	  Therefore	  the	  opportunities	  for	  women	  must	  include	  the	  ability	  to	  effect	  real	  change,	  even	  when	  their	  interests	  are	  not	  aligned	  with	  the	  dominant	  systems	  and	  ideologies.	  	  	   In	  2002,	  Canada	  signed	  CEDAW’s	  Optional	  Protocol.	  The	  Optional	  Protocol	  is	  a	  mechanism	  of	  State	  accountability	  that	  contains	  two	  procedures:	  it	  acts	  as	  an	  instrument	  of	  communication,	  permitting	  individuals	  and	  groups	  of	  women	  to	  submit	  claims	  of	  violations	  pertaining	  to	  the	  CEDAW;	  and	  it	  authorizes	  CEDAW	  to	  initiate	  inquiries	  if	  reliable	  sources	  indicate	  grave	  or	  systemic	  violations	  of	  women’s	  rights.11	  The	  State	  is	  expected	  to	  submit	  written	  reports	  every	  four	  years.	  The	  CEDAW	  committee	  then	  evaluates	  these	  reports	  in	  conjunction	  with	  reports	  and	  letters	  written	  by	  various	  organizations	  and	  individuals.	  In	  CEDAW’s	  2008	  Concluding	  Observations	  on	                                                  9 CEDAW. “Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women”. United Nations (1979). http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/text/econvention.htm. 10 Ibid., article 5. 11 CEDAW. “Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.” United Nations (1999). http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/protocol/   5 Canada,	  two	  paragraphs	  were	  highlighted,	  and	  the	  Committee	  requested	  that	  the	  State	  submit	  a	  report	  within	  one	  year	  explaining	  the	  initiatives	  it	  has	  undertaken	  in	  an	  effort	  to	  address	  the	  violations	  contained	  paragraphs	  14	  and	  32.	  	  Paragraph	  14:	  “Calls	  upon	  the	  State	  party	  to	  establish	  minimum	  standards	  for	  the	  provision	  of	  funding	  to	  social	  assistance	  programmes,	  applicable	  at	  the	  federal,	  provincial	  and	  territorial	  levels,	  and	  a	  monitoring	  mechanism	  to	  ensure	  the	  accountability	  of	  provincial	  and	  territorial	  governments	  for	  the	  use	  of	  such	  funds	  so	  as	  to	  ensure	  that	  funding	  decisions	  meet	  the	  needs	  of	  the	  most	  vulnerable	  groups	  of	  women	  and	  do	  not	  result	  in	  discrimination	  against	  women.	  The	  committee	  also	  calls	  upon	  the	  State	  party	  to	  carry	  out	  an	  impact	  assessment	  of	  social	  programmes	  related	  to	  women’s	  rights.”12	  	  Paragraph	  32:	  “Calls	  upon	  the	  State	  party	  to	  examine	  the	  reasons	  for	  the	  failure	  to	  investigate	  the	  cases	  of	  missing	  and	  murdered	  aboriginal	  women	  and	  to	  take	  the	  necessary	  steps	  to	  remedy	  the	  deficiencies	  in	  the	  system.	  The	  committee	  calls	  upon	  the	  State	  party	  to	  urgently	  carry	  out	  thorough	  investigations	  of	  the	  cases	  of	  aboriginal	  women	  who	  have	  gone	  missing	  or	  been	  murdered	  in	  recent	  decades.	  It	  also	  urges	  the	  State	  party	  to	  carry	  out	  an	  analysis	  of	  those	  cases	  in	  order	  to	  determine	  whether	  there	  is	  a	                                                         12 CEDAW. 2008. “Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women: Canada”. CEDAW/C/CAN/CO/7. United Nations: 3.    6 racialized	  pattern	  to	  the	  disappearances	  and	  take	  measures	  to	  address	  the	  problem	  if	  that	  is	  the	  case.”13	  	   The	  State	  neglected	  to	  submit	  this	  report	  in	  a	  timely	  manner,	  and	  instead	  submitted	  it	  in	  conjunction	  with	  the	  sixth	  and	  seventh	  periodic	  reports	  in	  February	  2010.14	  This	  report	  was	  vague	  and	  inconclusive.	  The	  state	  listed	  initiatives	  being	  taken	  but	  did	  not	  provide	  details	  of	  how	  it	  created	  these	  initiatives	  to	  meet	  the	  needs	  of	  those	  in	  the	  community,	  and	  how	  it	  planned	  to	  accomplish	  stated	  goals.	  Nowhere	  in	  the	  report	  does	  it	  speak	  about	  the	  nation-­‐wide	  concern	  regarding	  our	  missing	  and	  murdered	  Aboriginal	  women,	  and	  an	  effectual	  inquiry	  has	  yet	  to	  be	  established.	  The	  report	  attempted	  to	  justify	  the	  State's	  negligence	  by	  describing	  the	  constitutional	  and	  legislative	  obstacles	  it	  encounters	  in	  upholding	  the	  CEDAW.	  Interestingly	  enough,	  this	  list	  helps	  us	  identify	  the	  structural	  deficiencies	  that	  need	  to	  be	  either	  modified	  or	  eliminated,	  which	  include:	  no	  mechanisms	  of	  accountability	  between	  governments	  and	  a	  lack	  of	  minimum	  provision	  standards	  for	  funding	  to	  provinces	  and	  territories	  to	  ensure	  basic	  human	  rights	  are	  being	  met.	  	  	   I	  will	  examine	  the	  violations	  listed	  in	  paragraph	  14	  of	  CEDAW’s	  2008	  Concluding	  Observations,	  namely:	  the	  lack	  of	  minimal	  standards	  of	  provision	  and	  mechanisms	  of	  accountability	  in	  regards	  to	  providing	  adequate	  social	  services	  and	  funding,	  and	  how	                                                          13 CEDAW. 2008. “Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women: Canada”. CEDAW/C/CAN/CO/7. United Nations: 7. 14 CEDAW. “Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: Combined sixth and seventh reports of States parties Canada.” United Nations (2007).    7 these	  violations	  affect	  and	  perpetuate	  the	  violations	  listed	  in	  paragraph	  32,	  and	  women’s	  rights	  in	  general.	  In	  section	  1,	  I	  will	  outline	  the	  CEDAW	  mandate	  and	  recommendations	  for	  Canada.	  I	  will	  discuss	  the	  policies	  being	  implemented	  in	  Canada	  that	  prevent	  it	  from	  upholding	  the	  CEDAW.	  In	  Section	  2,	  I	  will	  illustrate	  the	  way	  in	  which	  this	  current	  politico-­‐economic	  system,	  neo-­‐liberalism,	  violates	  the	  rights	  of	  women.	  I	  will	  argue	  that	  neo-­‐liberalism	  is	  not	  only	  incompatible	  with	  upholding	  the	  CEDAW,	  but	  that	  these	  violations	  are	  strategies	  designed	  to	  suppress	  women’s	  rights	  in	  an	  effort	  to	  preserve	  a	  neo-­‐liberal	  agenda.	  Examining	  Russia,	  Greece,	  and	  the	  UK,	  I	  will	  illustrate	  a	  wider	  pattern	  around	  the	  world	  that	  neo-­‐liberal	  policy	  has	  had	  on	  women	  in	  these	  signatory	  states.	  I	  will	  further	  argue	  that,	  as	  a	  result	  of	  Canada’s	  colonial	  past	  and	  neo-­‐colonial	  present,	  it	  is	  imperative	  that	  the	  State	  of	  Canada	  support	  autonomous	  women’s	  organizations	  and	  provide	  extensive	  social	  services	  if	  an	  effort	  to	  eliminate	  discrimination	  against	  women	  is	  to	  be	  made.	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	    8 2	  	  	  Canada’s	  Commitment	  to	  CEDAW:	  Non-­‐Compliance	  and	  Violations	  In	  January	  2011,	  The	  Feminist	  Alliance	  for	  International	  Action	  (FAFIA)15	  and	  the	  Native	  Women’s	  Association	  of	  Canada	  (NWAC)16	  sent	  letters	  to	  CEDAW	  reporting	  that	  “grave”	  and	  “systemic”	  violations	  of	  women’s	  rights	  had	  occurred,	  and	  requested,	  under	  article	  8	  of	  CEDAW’s	  Optional	  Protocol,	  that	  an	  inquiry	  be	  launched.	  CEDAW	  continued	  to	  receive	  letters	  from	  many	  more	  women’s	  organizations,	  and	  even	  members	  of	  Parliament,17	  reporting	  violations	  of	  the	  Convention,	  but	  particularly	  regarding	  the	  2008	  Concluding	  Observations	  paragraphs	  14	  and	  32.	  	  	  The	  CEDAW	  Committee	  came	  to	  the	  decision	  that	  Canada	  had	  not	  upheld	  the	  Convention	  nor	  implemented	  the	  recommendations,	  and	  requested	  that	  the	  State	  provide	  additional	  information	  by	  January	  2012.18	  The	  State	  party	  at	  the	  time,	  the	  Conservative	  government,	  informed	  CEDAW	  “it	  would	  provide	  additional	  information	  only	  in	  the	  next	  periodic	  report	  in	  December	  2014.”19	  	  CEDAW	  determined	  this	  as	  a	  failure	  to	  comply	  and	  decided	  to	  consider	  launching	  an	  inquiry.	  In	  July	  2012	  an	  inquiry	  was	  established	  and	  conducted,	  “in	  accordance	  with	  article	  8,	  paragraph	  2,	  of	  the	  Optional	  Protocol	  and	  rule	  84	  of	  its	  Rules	  of	  Procedure,	  and	  to	  designate	  three	                                                  15 Farha, Leilani. 2011. “FAFIA Letter to CEDAW”, January 17. http://www.fafia-afai.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/FAFIA-Letter-to-CEDAW-Committee-September-2011.pdf. 16 Corbiere Lavell, Jeanette. 2011. “NWAC Letter to CEDAW”, September 20. http://www.fafia-afai.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/CEDAW-Sept-20-2011-1.pdf. 17 United Nations, The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Report of the inquiry concerning Canada of the Committee of the Elimination of Discrimination against Women under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women,  CEDAW/C/OP.8/CAN/1 (2015), 9.  18 Ibid., 5. 19 Ibid., 5.   9 committee	  members	  for	  that	  purpose.”20	  CEDAW	  requested	  that	  the	  State	  of	  Canada	  cooperate	  in	  the	  inquiry	  and	  accept	  a	  visit	  to	  its	  territory	  in	  2013.21	  After	  several	  reminders	  between	  October	  2012	  and	  January	  2013,	  on	  29	  April	  2013	  the	  State	  party	  finally	  consented	  to	  a	  visit.	  A	  visit	  was	  conducted	  in	  Canada	  from	  9-­‐13	  September	  2013,	  and	  in	  March	  2015	  CEDAW	  published	  a	  report	  regarding	  this	  inquiry.	  	  	  2.1	   2015	  CEDAW	  Report:	  Canada	  This	  report,	  the	  Report	  of	  the	  Inquiry	  concerning	  Canada	  of	  the	  Committee	  of	  the	  Elimination	  of	  Discrimination	  against	  Women	  under	  article	  8	  of	  the	  Optional	  Protocol	  to	  the	  Convention	  on	  the	  Elimination	  on	  All	  forms	  of	  Discrimination	  Against	  Women,	  focuses	  on	  the	  group	  of	  Canadian	  women	  facing	  the	  greatest	  discrimination,	  Aboriginal	  women.	  Information	  from	  non-­‐governmental	  organizations	  confirmed:	  	  • High	  levels	  of	  violence	  experienced	  by	  Aboriginal	  women	  and	  girls,	  and	  the	  disappearances	  and	  murders	  of	  Aboriginal	  women;22	  	  • High	  levels	  of	  poverty	  among	  Aboriginal	  women,	  “which	  make	  them	  vulnerable	  to	  and	  unable	  to	  escape	  from	  violence”;23	  	  • “Reluctance	  [of	  the	  State]	  to	  address	  both	  the	  root	  causes	  of	  violence	  and	  identified	  failures	  of	  the	  police	  and	  the	  justice	  system	  to	  prevent	  the	  violence,	  protect	  women	  from	  it	  and	  respond	  effectively	  to	  it	  when	  it	  occurs”;24	                                                  20 United Nations, The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Report of the inquiry concerning Canada of the Committee of the Elimination of Discrimination against Women under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, CEDAW/C/OP.8/CAN/1 (2015), 5.  21 Ibid., 5. 22 Ibid., 3.  23 Ibid., 3.  24 Ibid.,3.   10 • “Absence	  of	  a	  coordinated	  structure	  and	  broad	  policies	  to	  address	  these	  issues”;25	  	  • “Persistent	  marginalization	  and	  difficulties	  faced	  in	  accessing	  employment,	  housing,	  drinking	  water,	  health	  and	  education,	  as	  a	  result	  of	  continued	  structural	  discrimination”;26	  	  • Systemically	  underfunded	  First	  Nations	  communities;27	  • That	  the	  “Constitution	  does	  not	  explicitly	  distribute	  powers	  in	  all	  areas,	  there	  is	  a	  certain	  degree	  of	  overlap	  and	  flexibility	  between	  federal	  and	  provincial/territorial	  jurisdiction	  in	  many	  areas,	  such	  as	  legal	  aid	  or	  social	  assistance;28	  and	  	  • Deficiency	  of	  implemented	  initiatives.29	  Predictably,	  this	  report	  echoed	  the	  violations	  listed	  in	  CEDAW’s	  2008	  Concluding	  Observations.	  	  2.2	   2008	  CEDAW’s	  Concluding	  Observations:	  Canada	  CEDAW’s	  most	  recent	  Concluding	  Observations	  of	  2008	  published	  the	  following	  concerns:	  	  • Previous	  periodic	  reports	  not	  provided	  in	  an	  integrated	  fashion;30	  	  • Neglect	  to	  focus	  on	  recommendations	  made	  by	  CEDAW	  and	  to	  provide	  comprehensive	  reports	  on	  steps	  taken	  to	  implement	  them;31	  	                                                  25 United Nations, The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Report of the inquiry concerning Canada of the Committee of the Elimination of Discrimination against Women under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, CEDAW/C/OP.8/CAN/1 (2015), 3.  26 Ibid., 7.  27 Ibid., 8.  28 Ibid., 8.  29 Ibid.,26. 30 CEDAW. “Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Canada.” United Nations (2008) 1.    11 • No	  high-­‐level	  representatives	  with	  decision-­‐making	  power	  were	  included	  in	  the	  delegations;32	  	  • No	  leadership	  or	  funding	  power	  to	  set	  standards	  or	  effective	  mechanisms	  aimed	  at	  ensuring	  accountability	  of	  all	  levels	  of	  government;33	  	  • Lack	  of	  financial	  support	  for	  social	  services,	  particularly	  access	  to	  civil	  legal	  aid;34	  	  • Disproportionate	  rates	  of	  incarceration	  for	  Aboriginal	  women,	  ethnic	  and	  minority	  women;35	  	  • Drastic	  cuts	  to	  Status	  of	  Women	  Canada	  and	  modifications	  made	  to	  both	  the	  mandate	  and	  funding	  eligibility;36	  	  • High	  levels	  of	  violence	  against	  women	  and	  girls,	  and	  absence	  of	  mechanisms	  to	  address	  this;37	  	  • Failure	  to	  investigate	  missing	  and	  murdered	  Aboriginal	  women;38	  	  • Lack	  of	  childcare	  spaces;39	  	  • High	  rates	  of	  poverty,	  particularly	  for	  aboriginal,	  ethnic	  and	  minority	  women;40	  and	  	  • Insufficient	  measures	  taken	  to	  address	  poverty,	  poor	  health	  and	  inadequate	  housing.41	  	                                                                                                                                                    31 CEDAW. “Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Canada.” United Nations (2008), 1.  32 Ibid., 1.  33 Ibid., 3.  34 Ibid., 5.  35 Ibid., 7.  36 Ibid., 6.  37 Ibid., 6.   38 Ibid., 7.   39 Ibid., 8.  40 Ibid.,8.    12 2.3	   2003	  CEDAW	  Committee	  Press	  Release:	  Canada	  These	  violations	  have	  generated	  international	  alarm.	  In	  a	  2003	  CEDAW	  Committee	  press	  release	  reviewing	  Canada’s	  fifth	  periodic	  report,	  “the	  23	  member	  body,	  whose	  experts	  serve	  in	  their	  personal	  capacity”,	  expressed	  the	  following	  concerns:42	  	  • Structural	  adjustment	  policies	  have	  worsened	  conditions	  of	  marginalized	  women	  and	  affected	  distribution	  of	  social	  services	  (Philippines);	  	  • Initiatives	  implemented	  lack	  real	  analysis	  (Germany);	  	  • Neo-­‐liberal	  economic	  policies	  making	  serious	  cutbacks	  to	  social	  services,	  such	  as	  social	  assistance	  and	  funding	  for	  shelters,	  perpetuating	  cycles	  of	  violence	  against	  women	  (Republic	  of	  Korea);	  	  • Absence	  of	  national	  set	  standards	  for	  upholding	  the	  Convention	  and	  lack	  of	  government	  accountability	  between	  all	  levels	  of	  government	  (Benin);	  • “Exacerbation	  of	  poverty	  appeared	  to	  be	  triggered	  by	  the	  weakening	  of	  social	  assistance	  programs”,	  how	  could	  such	  an	  affluent	  State	  have	  such	  high	  levels	  of	  poverty?	  (Mexico);	  	  • Absence	  of	  national	  standards	  for	  the	  provision	  of	  funding	  has	  had	  negative	  consequences	  for	  women	  in	  Canada,	  forcing	  them	  to	  share	  many	  of	  the	  same	  disadvantages	  of	  poorer	  societies	  (Portugal);	  	  • Absence	  of	  analysis	  and	  measures	  taken	  to	  address	  systemic	  discrimination	  against	  Aboriginal	  Canadian	  women	  (Cuba);	  	                                                                                                                                                    41 CEDAW. “Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Canada.” United Nations (2008), 9.          42 CEDAW. 2003. “Anti-discrimination Committee Praises Canada for Advancing Women’s Rights, but Expresses Concern over Number of Women in Poverty”. WOM/1380. United Nations. http://www.un.org/press/en/2003/wom1380.doc.htm.    13 • Adequate	  food	  and	  housing	  needs	  not	  being	  met	  for	  Immigrant	  and	  Aboriginal	  women	  who	  rely	  on	  social	  assistance	  programs	  (Bangladesh);	  	  • Lack	  of	  integrated	  social	  support	  services	  for	  women,	  especially	  for	  the	  poor	  and	  ageing	  populations	  (Indonesia);	  	  • Reports	  do	  not	  include	  cooperation	  with	  non-­‐governmental	  organizations	  (Croatia);	  	  • As	  a	  result	  of	  a	  lack	  of	  national	  standards	  for	  funding	  to	  provinces,	  women	  are	  becoming	  increasingly	  poor,	  meanwhile	  the	  province	  of	  British	  Columbia	  eliminated	  the	  Human	  Rights	  Commission	  and	  the	  Ministry	  of	  Women’s	  Equality,	  while	  drastically	  reducing	  funding	  to	  legal	  aid,	  (Mauritius);	  	  • Failure	  of	  Federal	  government	  to	  inform	  and	  train	  members	  of	  the	  judiciary	  to	  comply	  with	  the	  Convention	  (Netherlands);	  	  • Lack	  of	  political	  will	  to	  fund,	  cooperate,	  and	  engage	  in	  serious	  dialogue	  with	  non-­‐governmental	  organizations	  (Hungary).43	  	  	  Canada	  responded	  by	  stating	  “that	  such	  high	  deficits	  were	  hindering	  economic	  growth,	  poverty	  reduction	  and	  other	  vital	  programmes…and	  [the	  State]	  had	  turned	  those	  cuts	  around	  in	  an	  attempt	  to	  improve	  the	  poverty	  situation	  and	  had	  seen	  tangible	  results.”	  Further,	  in	  regards	  to	  British	  Columbia,	  it	  stated	  that	  “servicing	  a	  large	  debt	  and	  continuing	  to	  run	  a	  deficit	  made	  promoting	  human	  rights	  difficult	  over	  the	  long	  term.	                                                          43 CEDAW. 2003. “Anti-discrimination Committee Praises Canada for Advancing Women’s Rights, but Expresses Concern over Number of Women in Poverty”. WOM/1380. United Nations. http://www.un.org/press/en/2003/wom1380.doc.htm.   14 Decisions	  had	  to	  be	  made	  where	  to	  put	  scarce	  resources.”44	  Yet,	  a	  submission	  to	  CEDAW	  by	  the	  Feminist	  Alliance	  for	  International	  Action	  (FAFIA)	  confirmed	  that	  “Canada	  has	  the	  resources,	  institutions	  and	  infrastructure	  to	  provide	  the	  social	  programs	  and	  services	  necessary	  to	  ensure	  women’s	  equal	  enjoyment	  of	  their	  human	  rights.	  Since	  the	  last	  reporting	  period,	  Canada	  has	  had	  a	  period	  of	  unparalleled	  economic	  growth	  and	  fiscal	  health,	  evidenced	  by	  continuous	  federal	  budget	  surpluses	  since	  1998,	  amounting	  to	  billions	  of	  dollars.”45	  	  	  The	  state	  of	  Canada	  further	  claimed	  that	  they	  “had	  not	  consulted	  with	  non-­‐governmental	  organizations	  specifically	  in	  the	  preparation	  of	  the	  report,	  but	  consultations	  with	  those	  organizations	  occurred	  regularly	  through	  other	  forums.”46	  However,	  letters	  written	  by	  women’s	  organizations	  confirmed	  that	  consultations	  had	  not	  been	  performed	  in	  a	  meaningful	  manner.	  Mere	  months	  before	  the	  CEDAW	  eighth	  and	  ninth	  reports	  were	  due,	  the	  State	  of	  Canada	  invited	  a	  few	  women’s	  organizations,	  such	  as	  the	  Canadian	  Federation	  of	  University	  Women	  (CFUW),	  to	  a	  consultation,	  and	  they	  responded	  with:	  	  “Our	  organization	  notes	  with	  concern	  that	  the	  consultation	  being	  offered	  by	  the	  Government	  of	  Canada	  to	  women’s	  organizations	  prior	  to	  the	  CEDAW	  review	  is	  extremely	                                                         44 CEDAW. 2003. “Anti-discrimination Committee Praises Canada for Advancing Women’s Rights, but Expresses Concern over Number of Women in Poverty”. WOM/1380. United Nations. http://www.un.org/press/en/2003/wom1380.doc.htm.         45 FAFIA. “Submission of the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women on the Occasion of the Committee’s Review of Canada’s 6th & 7th Reports.” (2008): 9. http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CEDAW/Shared%20Documents/CAN/INT_CEDAW_NGO_CAN_42_8234_E.pdf. 46 CEDAW. 2003. “Anti-discrimination Committee Praises Canada for Advancing Women’s Rights, but Expresses Concern over Number of Women in Poverty”. WOM/1380. United Nations. http://www.un.org/press/en/2003/wom1380.doc.htm.   15 limited.	  The	  CEDAW	  review	  process	  could	  be	  made	  truly	  fruitful	  for	  women	  in	  Canada	  if	  there	  was	  active,	  detailed	  and	  collaborative	  dialogue	  between	  women’s	  organizations	  and	  governments	  at	  all	  levels,	  with	  the	  shared	  goals	  of	  assessing	  the	  state	  of	  compliance	  with	  CEDAW	  rights	  and	  identifying	  what	  steps	  can	  be	  taken	  now	  to	  advance	  women’s	  equality	  in	  Canada.	  Such	  dialogue	  should,	  in	  our	  view,	  take	  place	  both	  before	  and	  after	  the	  CEDAW	  Committee’s	  review.	  Unfortunately,	  the	  Government	  of	  Canada	  offers	  only	  minimal,	  online	  consultation.	  For	  governments	  in	  Canada,	  who	  purport	  to	  be	  committed	  to	  equality	  for	  women,	  this	  is	  another	  missed	  opportunity	  and	  a	  refusal	  to	  use	  the	  CEDAW	  review	  process	  to	  engage	  in	  a	  genuine	  dialogue	  with	  women’s	  organizations.”47	  	   Despite	  an	  official	  commitment	  to	  eliminating	  all	  forms	  of	  discrimination	  against	  women,	  the	  State	  of	  Canada	  has	  not	  only	  been	  non-­‐compliant	  in	  upholding	  the	  CEDAW,	  but	  continues	  to	  implement	  policies	  that	  deliberately	  violate	  the	  rights	  of	  women.	  Since	  its	  ratification,	  and	  especially	  since	  the	  Conservative	  government	  came	  into	  power	  in	  2006,	  the	  State	  of	  Canada	  has	  demonstrated	  a	  blatant	  disregard	  for	  the	  Convention	  and	  the	  Committee’s	  recommendations	  and	  requests.	  For	  the	  past	  25	  years,	  the	  CEDAW	  Committee	  “has	  let	  Canada	  know	  that	  its	  performance	  lags	  far	  behind.”48	  	  	  	  	                                                  47 Murphy, Susan. 2014. “Canada’s Eighth and Ninth Reports on CEDAW”, February 20. http://www.fcfdu.org/Portals/0/Advocacy/AdvocacyIssues/JusticeandHumanRights/CFUW%20feedback%20on%20Canada’s%208th%20and%209th%20report%20on%20CEDAW%20(2).pdf. 48 Kerr, Sandra. 2006. “On Your Mark, Get Set: Is the Government of Canada Ready to Take Action on CEDAW?” Women & Environments International Magazine 72/73: 92.   16 2.4	   Negligence	  in	  Addressing	  Systematic	  Discrimination	  A	  necessary	  component	  in	  eliminating	  all	  forms	  of	  discrimination	  against	  women	  is	  an	  acknowledgment	  and	  analysis	  of	  systematic	  discrimination.	  Efforts	  to	  understand	  the	  root	  causes	  of	  discrimination	  against	  women	  require	  the	  State	  to	  recognize	  and	  take	  responsibility	  for	  the	  role	  it	  has	  played,	  and	  continues	  to	  play,	  in	  perpetuating	  discrimination	  against	  women.	  Upholding	  the	  CEDAW	  demands	  modifying	  or	  eliminating	  discriminatory	  systems	  and	  institutions.	  Like	  all	  ratifying	  states,	  Canada	  faces	  very	  specific	  problems	  that	  are	  connected	  to	  its	  historic	  and	  present	  political,	  economic	  and	  social	  structures	  and	  ideologies.	  The	  CEDAW	  March	  2015	  report	  states,	  “The	  impact	  of	  laws	  enacted	  during	  the	  colonial	  period	  has	  significantly	  reinforced	  gender-­‐based	  discrimination	  and	  inequality.”49	  In	  some	  instances	  states	  with	  systematic	  discrimination,	  such	  as	  Canada,	  may	  need	  to	  adopt	  ‘Temporary	  Special	  Measures’	  aimed	  at	  accelerating	  de	  facto	  equality”.50	  This	  is	  particularly	  important	  for	  historic	  colonial	  and	  neo-­‐colonial	  States	  because	  these	  States	  often	  have	  deeply	  embedded	  discriminatory	  practices	  permeating	  their	  systems	  and	  institutions.	  These	  temporary	  special	  measures	  are	  defined	  as	  measures	  that	  involve	  “a	  wide	  variety	  of	  legislative,	  administrative	  and	  other	  regulatory	  instruments,	  policies	  and	  practices,	  such	  as	  outreach	  or	  support	  programmes,	  [and]	  allocation	  and/or	  reallocation	  of	  resources.”51	                                                  49 United Nations, The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Report of the inquiry concerning Canada of the Committee of the Elimination of Discrimination against Women under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, CEDAW. “Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Canada.” United Nations (2008) CEDAW/C/OP.8/CAN/1 (2015),7. 50 CEDAW. “Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women”. United Nations (1979): Article 4. http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/text/econvention.htm. 51 CEDAW. n.d. “General Recommendation No.25, on Article 4, Paragraph 1, of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, on Temporary Special Measures.” (2004): article 22.   17 Article	  10	  of	  the	  General	  recommendation	  No.25,	  on	  article	  4,	  paragraph	  1,	  of	  the	  CEDAW,	  on	  ‘Temporary	  Special	  Measures’	  states:	  	  “the	  position	  of	  women	  will	  not	  be	  improved	  as	  long	  as	  the	  underlying	  causes	  of	  discrimination	  against	  women,	  and	  of	  their	  inequality,	  are	  not	  effectively	  addressed.	  The	  lives	  of	  women	  and	  men	  must	  be	  considered	  in	  a	  contextual	  way,	  and	  measures	  adopted	  towards	  a	  real	  transformation	  of	  opportunities,	  institutions	  and	  systems	  so	  that	  they	  are	  no	  longer	  grounded	  in	  historically	  determined	  male	  paradigms	  of	  power	  and	  life	  patterns.”52	  In	  Canada,	  implementing	  ‘temporary	  special	  measures’	  could	  help	  mitigate	  the	  effects	  of	  systematic	  discrimination,	  and	  offer	  possibilities	  to	  those	  either	  disadvantaged	  by,	  or	  situated	  outside	  of,	  the	  neo-­‐liberal	  ideology.	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	                                                  52 CEDAW. n.d. “General Recommendation No.25, on Article 4, Paragraph 1, of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, on Temporary Special Measures.” (2004): article 10.   18 3	   Neo-­‐liberalism	  The	  Convention	  on	  the	  Elimination	  of	  all	  forms	  of	  Discrimination	  Against	  Women,	  although	  non-­‐partisan,	  has	  certain	  mandate	  requirements	  and	  recommendations	  that	  challenge	  systems	  or	  policies	  exhibiting	  discriminatory	  behaviour	  against	  women.	  Therefore,	  the	  CEDAW	  cannot	  be	  effectively	  upheld	  without	  seriously	  examining	  how	  the	  State	  of	  Canada’s	  politico-­‐economic	  ideology	  and	  policies	  contribute	  to,	  and	  perpetuate,	  discrimination.	  Sociologist	  and	  anthropologist.	  Kendra	  Coulter	  notes,	  “neoliberalism	  cannot	  be	  seen	  solely	  as	  an	  economic	  agenda…but	  rather	  must	  be	  understood	  as	  a	  multi-­‐faceted	  project	  with	  real	  institutional	  and	  economic	  restructuring,	  coupled	  with	  reinforcing	  cultural	  and	  ideological	  processes.”53	  	  	  Anthropologist	  Carol	  Greenhouse	  argues	  that	  neo-­‐liberal	  ideology	  adheres	  to	  the	  “primacy	  of	  the	  private	  sector,	  the	  release	  of	  organizations	  and	  industries	  from	  government	  regulation,	  the	  creation	  of	  powerful	  nonstate	  transnational	  institutions	  and	  global	  market	  regimes,	  and	  assurance	  of	  the	  market’s	  self-­‐regulating	  character.”	  However,	  with	  “structural	  adjustment	  and	  soaring	  capital	  accumulation…come	  permanent	  impoverishment	  and	  divided	  communities;	  privatization	  is	  accompanied	  by	  social	  fragmentation	  and	  democracy	  deficit;	  market	  values	  do	  not	  consistently	  sustain	  services…deregulation	  permits	  loss	  of	  accountability.”54	  	  Coulter	  lists	  the	  ways	  in	  which	  neo-­‐liberal	  goals	  are	  realized,	  which	  include:	  	  “privatization	  through	  direct	  asset	  sales;	  privatization	  of	  services	  through	  contracting-­‐                                                53 Coulter, Kendra. 2009. “Women, Poverty Policy, and the Production of Neoliberal Politics in Ontario, Canada.” Journal of Women, Politics & Policy 30 (1): 5. 54 Greenhouse, Carol. Ethnographies of Neoliberalism. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press (2011): 2. http://muse.jhu.edu/.   19 out	  and	  outsourcing	  to	  the	  for-­‐profit	  sector;	  delisting	  of	  services	  previously	  within	  the	  public	  umbrella;	  user	  fees	  of	  various	  sorts;	  public-­‐private	  partnership	  arrangements	  for	  capital,	  operations	  and/or	  the	  financing	  of	  institutions,	  programs	  or	  infrastructure;	  income	  trusts;	  and	  promotion	  and	  celebration	  of	  volunteerism,	  charity,	  or	  fundraising	  as	  a	  substitution	  for	  public	  investment.”55	  	  	  Theoretically,	  privatization	  is	  said	  to	  unleash	  the	  free	  market	  where	  demands	  create	  supply.	  However,	  this	  ideology	  completely	  neglects	  to	  address	  the	  fact	  that	  patterns	  of	  discrimination	  will	  inevitably	  intersect	  with	  the	  free	  market,	  leaving	  those	  historically	  facing	  discrimination	  further	  disadvantaged.	  Neo-­‐liberalism	  grants	  privilege	  to	  the	  corporate	  elite	  and	  prioritizes	  financial	  interests,	  although	  short-­‐term.	  Despite	  evidence	  of	  the	  adverse	  effects	  neo-­‐liberal	  policy	  has	  had	  on	  the	  economy	  of	  nations	  worldwide,	  and	  evidence	  provided	  by	  public	  health	  experts	  David	  Stuckler	  and	  Sanjay	  Basu	  that	  “every	  dollar	  spent	  on	  healthcare	  and	  education	  actually	  generates	  three	  dollars	  in	  the	  economy,56	  one	  can	  only	  speculate	  that	  the	  government	  and	  corporations	  either	  do	  not	  have	  the	  capacity	  to	  think	  long-­‐term	  or	  their	  goals	  are	  immediate	  and	  self-­‐interested.	  Placing	  virtually	  unregulated	  power	  into	  the	  hands	  of	  the	  corporate	  elite	  and	  expecting	  them	  to	  meet	  the	  needs	  of	  society	  is	  remarkably	  naïve,	  especially	  within	  a	  society	  that	  has	  failed	  to	  adequately	  address	  discrimination	  against	  women.	  	  	                                                  55 Coulter, Kendra. 2009. “Women, Poverty Policy, and the Production of Neoliberal Politics in Ontario, Canada.” Journal of Women, Politics & Policy 30 (1): 7. 56 Kilian, Crawford. 2013. “‘Why Austerity Kills’.” The Tyee, July 2. http://thetyee.ca/Books/2013/07/02/Austerity-Kills/.    20 Advocates	  of	  neo-­‐liberal	  economic	  reform	  promise	  growth	  and	  employment,	  meanwhile	  evidence	  of	  the	  contrary	  reveals	  itself	  both	  domestically	  and	  abroad.	  States	  implementing	  neo-­‐liberal	  policies	  are	  experiencing	  record	  levels	  of	  unemployment	  and	  poverty,	  and	  those	  most	  affected	  are	  women.	  Revealing	  systematic	  results,	  I	  will	  discuss	  some	  of	  the	  effects	  that	  neo-­‐liberal	  policy	  has	  had	  in	  Russia,	  UK	  and	  Greece.	  But	  first,	  I	  will	  discuss	  the	  actions	  of	  the	  Canadian	  government	  since	  the	  implementation	  of	  neo-­‐liberalism,	  and	  why	  the	  state	  of	  Canada	  would	  be	  wise	  to	  avoid	  entering	  into	  such	  a	  crisis	  that	  leads	  to	  impoverishment	  and	  further	  inequality.	  	  3.1	   Value	  Shaping	  Before	  citing	  actions	  that	  the	  Canadian	  government	  has	  taken	  in	  its	  efforts	  to	  preserve	  the	  neo-­‐liberal	  agenda,	  I	  would	  first	  like	  to	  draw	  attention	  to	  the	  fact	  that	  neo-­‐liberalism,	  and	  the	  subsequent	  implementation	  of	  policies	  that	  work	  to	  preserve	  its	  agenda,	  encourage	  particular	  traits	  and	  behavior,	  which	  intersect	  and	  extend	  into	  social	  and	  cultural	  networks.	  Political	  and	  economic	  systems	  do	  not	  solely	  influence	  our	  political	  and	  economic	  rights;	  they	  influence	  our	  everyday	  experiences	  and	  interactions.	  Effectively	  implementing	  and	  sustaining	  the	  neo-­‐liberal	  ideology	  requires	  shaping	  attitudes	  and	  beliefs.	  Paul	  Verhaeghe,	  a	  senior	  professor	  at	  Ghent	  University	  and	  chair	  of	  the	  department	  for	  psychoanalysis	  and	  counseling	  psychology,57	  examines	  the	  ways	  in	  which	  neo-­‐liberalism,	  especially	  free	  market	  forces	  and	  privatization,	  have	  had	  “a	                                                  57 Verhaeghe, Paul. 2014. “Neoliberalism Has Brought Out the Worst in Us.” The Guardian, September 29. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/29/neoliberalism-economic-system-ethics-personality-psychopathicsthic.   21 profound	  effect	  not	  only	  on	  our	  values	  but	  also	  on	  our	  personalities.”58	  Verhaeghe	  maintains	  that	  “every	  society	  defines	  and	  shapes	  its	  own	  normality	  –	  and	  its	  own	  abnormality-­‐	  according	  to	  dominant	  narratives	  and	  seeks	  either	  to	  make	  people	  comply	  or	  to	  exclude	  them	  if	  they	  don’t.”59	  Couze	  Venn	  asserts:	  “inequality	  is	  not	  only	  a	  by-­‐product	  of	  a	  system	  based	  on	  competition,	  but	  is	  required	  as	  a	  condition;	  inequality	  is	  seen	  to	  be	  an	  inherent	  and	  necessary	  feature	  of	  free	  market	  economy,	  and	  is	  justified	  on	  the	  basis	  of	  its	  necessary	  and	  regulating	  role	  as	  a	  mechanism,	  which	  means	  that	  the	  state	  must	  not	  intervene	  to	  ‘compensate	  the	  effects	  of	  economic	  processes.”60	  A	  State	  that	  prioritizes	  unrestricted	  competition	  driven	  by	  self-­‐interest	  sends	  a	  message	  to	  the	  public	  that	  success	  is	  defined	  by	  these	  terms.	  A	  State	  that	  neglects	  to	  provide	  funding	  for	  legal	  aid	  or	  shelters	  for	  women	  in	  abusive	  relationships	  because	  such	  a	  program	  does	  not	  align	  with	  a	  pro-­‐business	  agenda	  not	  only	  increases	  women’s	  vulnerability	  to	  violence	  by	  not	  providing	  the	  adequate	  resources	  to	  escape,	  but	  perpetuates	  cycles	  of	  violence	  by	  sending	  a	  message	  to	  the	  public	  that	  the	  high	  rates	  of	  violence	  against	  women	  are	  not	  a	  priority,	  but	  self-­‐interest	  and	  monetary	  gains	  are.	  	  	  	                                                  58 Verhaeghe, Paul. 2014. “Neoliberalism Has Brought Out the Worst in Us.” The Guardian, September 29. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/29/neoliberalism-economic-system-ethics-personality-psychopathicsthic. 59 Monbiot,	  George.	  2014.	  “Sick	  of	  This	  Market-­‐driven	  World?	  You	  Should	  Be.”	  The	  Guardian,	  August	  5.	  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/05/neoliberalism-­‐mental-­‐health-­‐rich-­‐poverty-­‐economy.	  60 Venn, Couze. 2009. “Neoliberal Political Economy, Biopolitics and Colonialism: A Transcolonial Genealogy of Inequality.” Theory, Culture & Society 26 (6): 8.    22 3.2	   Canadian	  Neo-­‐liberalism	  The	  State	  of	  Canada	  adopted	  neo-­‐liberalism	  in	  the	  1980’s.	  However,	  Simon	  Enoch,	  Director	  of	  the	  Saskatchewan	  Office	  of	  the	  Canadian	  Centre	  for	  Policy	  Alternatives	  (CCPA),	  notes	  that	  the	  Canadian	  corporate	  community	  began	  a	  strategic	  communications	  campaign	  in	  the	  early	  1970’s	  designed	  to	  mobilize	  public	  and	  political	  support	  for	  neo-­‐liberal	  economic	  policies	  while	  simultaneously	  denigrating	  Keynesian-­‐inspired	  state	  intervention	  and	  trade	  union	  power.”61	  He	  argues	  that	  neo-­‐liberal	  policies	  are	  strategies	  designed	  by	  the	  corporate	  elite	  in	  response	  to	  concerns	  that	  “democratic	  encroachments	  were	  eroding	  their	  economic	  power.”62	  	  	  Through	  the	  principles	  of	  reduced	  government	  intervention	  and	  privatization,	  the	  State	  of	  Canada	  increasingly	  withdrew	  its	  support	  of	  publicly	  funded	  programs	  and	  services,	  and	  transferred	  ownership,	  thus	  power,	  from	  the	  public	  to	  the	  private	  sector.	  Economist	  Jim	  Stanford	  writes,	  “Canada	  was	  hardly	  a	  model	  of	  inclusion,	  equality,	  and	  democracy.	  But	  in	  the	  latter	  years	  of	  the	  postwar	  expansion,	  Canada	  progressed	  both	  economically	  and	  socially.”63	  Yet	  in	  the	  mid-­‐90’s,	  Jean	  Chretien,	  leader	  of	  the	  Canadian	  liberal	  party	  “announced	  major	  cuts	  to	  the	  public	  sector	  and	  drastically	  reduced	  transfer	  payments	  to	  the	  provinces	  for	  education,	  healthcare	  and	  other	  services.”	  64	  It	  was	  declared	  that	  policies	  to	  cut	  social	  services	  were	  initiatives	  designed	  to	  reduce	  a	  growing	  deficit.	  Then,	  in	  the	  midst	  of	  “unparalleled	  economic	  growth	  and	  fiscal	  health,	                                                  61 Enoch, Simon. 2007. “Changing the Ideological Fabric? A Brief History of (Canadian) Neoliberalism.” State of Nature, October. http://www.stateofnature.org/?p=6217. 62 Enoch, Simon. 2007. “Changing the Ideological Fabric? A Brief History of (Canadian) Neoliberalism.” State of Nature, October. http://www.stateofnature.org/?p=6217. 63 Stanford, Jim. 2014. “The Three Key Moments in Canada’s Neoliberal Transformation.” Rabble.ca, April 9. http://rabble.ca/columnists/2014/04/three-key-moments-canadas-neoliberal-transformation. 64 “Austerity.” n.d. The Council of Canadians. http://canadians.org/austerity.   23 evidenced	  by	  continuous	  federal	  budget	  surpluses…amounting	  to	  billions	  of	  dollars”65	  the	  Conservative	  party	  led	  by	  Stephen	  Harper	  implemented	  increasingly	  harsh	  neo-­‐liberal	  policies.	  These	  violations	  are	  the	  result	  of	  the	  implementation	  of	  neo-­‐liberal	  policies	  and	  have	  proven	  to	  have	  disproportionately	  harmful	  effects	  on	  women	  relative	  to	  men.	  	  In	  efforts	  to	  reduce	  the	  role	  of	  government,	  the	  Conservative	  party	  has	  recently	  adopted	  discourses	  of	  austerity.	  Similar	  to	  measures	  taken	  in	  the	  1990s	  to	  reduce	  the	  deficit,	  austerity	  reduces	  the	  role	  of	  government	  by	  making	  significant	  cutbacks	  to	  public	  services,	  social	  programs,	  education,	  and	  healthcare.	  These	  measures	  are	  often	  either	  adopted	  principles	  of	  a	  neo-­‐liberal	  State,	  such	  as	  Canada,	  or	  implemented	  through	  Structural	  Adjustment	  Programs	  imposed	  by	  international	  monetary	  organizations,	  such	  as	  the	  International	  Monetary	  Fund	  or	  The	  World	  Bank.	  Austerity	  rhetoric	  promises	  to	  balance	  the	  budget	  and	  stimulate	  economic	  growth	  by	  reducing	  government	  spending.	  However,	  the	  consequences	  have	  proven	  to	  be	  drastically	  different.	  Nick	  Fillmore,	  a	  Canadian	  freelance	  journalist	  and	  social	  activist,	  wrote,	  “The	  massive	  austerity	  program	  translates	  into	  less	  income,	  decreased	  services,	  and	  reduced	  healthcare	  for	  many	  of	  Canada’s	  most	  vulnerable	  people.	  It	  appears	  that	  more	  than	  four	  million	  Canadians-­‐	  mainly	  the	  poor,	  the	  unemployed/underemployed	  and	  the	  under-­‐privileged-­‐	  are	  struggling.”66	  Public	  Interest	  Alberta,	  a	  non-­‐profit,	  non-­‐partisan	                                                  65 FAFIA. “Women’s Inequality in Canada.” (2008): 9. http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CEDAW/Shared%20Documents/CAN/INT_CEDAW_NGO_CAN_42_8234_E.pdf. 66 Fillmore, Nick. 2013. “Austerity Chokes Canada’s Needy.” Al Jazeera, August 10. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/08/201388102455922618.html.   24 organization	  focused	  on	  education	  and	  advocacy	  on	  public	  interest	  issues,	  reports	  that	  “across	  Canada,	  4.2	  million	  people,	  including	  967,000	  children	  and	  their	  families	  live	  in	  poverty.	  Those	  most	  disadvantaged	  by	  austerity	  are	  poor,	  and	  according	  to	  a	  CEDAW	  submission,	  the	  Canadian	  Feminist	  Alliance	  for	  International	  Action	  (FAFIA)	  reports,	  “while	  the	  poverty	  rate	  undergoes	  cyclical	  fluctuations,	  the	  poverty	  rate	  for	  women	  is	  always	  higher	  than	  the	  rate	  for	  men.	  Even	  when	  women’s	  poverty	  rate	  is	  at	  its	  lowest,	  one	  woman	  in	  eight	  is	  living	  below	  the	  poverty	  line	  in	  one	  of	  the	  wealthiest	  countries	  in	  the	  world.”67	  Single	  mothers,	  Aboriginal	  women,	  and	  senior	  women,	  women	  with	  disabilities	  and	  women	  of	  colour,	  find	  themselves	  particularly	  vulnerable	  to	  poverty.	  In	  a	  submission	  to	  CEDAW	  written	  by	  FAFIA	  in	  2010,	  they	  report,	  “Nowhere	  is	  the	  link	  between	  poverty,	  lack	  of	  adequate	  housing,	  and	  violence	  more	  evident	  than	  in	  the	  human	  rights	  abuses	  suffered	  by	  Aboriginal	  women	  and	  girls.”68	  The	  CEDAW	  Committee	  confirmed	  that,	  “while	  current	  Canadian	  governments	  have	  the	  financial	  capacity	  to	  eliminate	  poverty	  among	  women,	  fiscal	  restructuring	  has	  resulted	  in	  reduced	  spending	  and	  tightened	  restrictions	  on	  social	  assistance	  and	  other	  programs	  essential	  to	  the	  safety	  and	  well-­‐being	  of	  poor	  women	  in	  Canada.69	  	  	  	                                                  67 FAFIA. “Women’s Inequality in Canada.” (2008): 10. http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CEDAW/Shared%20Documents/CAN/INT_CEDAW_NGO_CAN_42_8234_E.pdf. 68 Canadian Feminst Alliance for International Action. “No Action: No Progress- Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action Report on Canada’s Progress in Implementing Priority Recommendations Made by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in 2008.” (2010): 5. 69 FAFIA. “Women’s Inequality in Canada.” (2008): 85. http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CEDAW/Shared%20Documents/CAN/INT_CEDAW_NGO_CAN_42_8234_E.pdf.   25 3.3	   Austerity	  Measures	  The	  implementation	  of	  austerity	  measures	  requires	  cutbacks	  to	  social	  services	  and	  programs	  that	  have	  proven	  to	  have	  disproportionately	  harmful	  effects	  on	  women	  relative	  to	  men.	  Austerity,	  as	  demonstrated	  above,	  widens	  the	  gap	  between	  rich	  and	  poor.	  And	  because	  women	  make	  up	  the	  highest	  percentage	  of	  the	  poor	  (with	  the	  poverty	  rate	  of	  Aboriginal	  women	  at	  36%,	  and	  single	  mothers	  remaining	  the	  poorest	  family	  type	  in	  Canada)70,	  austerity	  consequently	  impedes	  the	  rights	  of	  women	  who	  rely	  on	  social	  services	  for	  an	  adequate	  standard	  of	  living.	  In	  neglecting	  to	  provide	  services,	  programs	  and	  funding	  for	  women’s	  organizations,	  the	  State	  of	  Canada	  completely	  neglects	  to	  address	  its	  role	  and	  responsibility	  towards	  eliminating	  discrimination	  against	  women,	  thereby	  failing	  to	  uphold	  the	  CEDAW.	  	  	   In	  the	  2008	  Concluding	  Observations,	  CEDAW	  noted	  that	  it	  is	  “concerned	  at	  reports	  of	  cuts	  in	  social	  assistance	  schemes	  in	  many	  provinces	  and	  at	  the	  resulting	  negative	  impact	  on	  the	  rights	  of	  vulnerable	  groups	  of	  women,	  such	  as	  single	  mothers,	  aboriginal	  women,	  Afro-­‐Canadian	  women,	  immigrant	  women,	  elderly	  women	  and	  disabled	  women,	  who	  -­‐rely	  on	  social	  assistance	  for	  an	  adequate	  standard	  of	  living.”71	  And	  according	  to	  CEDAW’s	  previous	  Concluding	  Observations	  in	  2003,	  women	  make	  up	  more	  than	  half	  of	  social	  assistance	  recipients,	  yet	  “since	  the	  last	  reporting	  period,	  the	  most	  basic	  income	  security	  program	  for	  the	  poorest	  women	  has	  been	  eroded	  further.	                                                  70 FAFIA. “Women’s Inequality in Canada.” (2008): 10. http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CEDAW/Shared%20Documents/CAN/INT_CEDAW_NGO_CAN_42_8234_E.pdf. 71 CEDAW. “Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women: Canada”. CEDAW/C/CAN/CO/7. United Nations (2008): Article 13.    26 Welfare	  incomes	  have	  declined;	  fewer	  women	  can	  qualify;	  new	  rules	  that	  have	  discriminatory	  impacts	  on	  women	  have	  been	  put	  in	  place;	  and	  old	  rules	  with	  discriminatory	  effects	  have	  been	  difficult,	  if	  not	  impossible,	  to	  disturb.”72	  	  	  FAFIA	  reports	  that	  “over	  the	  last	  decade,	  virtually	  every	  province	  cut	  welfare	  benefits.	  Together	  Alberta,	  B.C	  and	  Ontario	  have	  60%	  of	  Canada’s	  population,	  and	  these	  are	  the	  provinces	  that	  have	  pursued	  the	  most	  aggressive	  welfare	  reforms.73	  CEDAW’s	  2003	  Concluding	  Observations	  well	  documents	  gendered	  consequences	  when	  women	  do	  not	  have	  access	  to	  social	  assistance.	  Without	  adequate	  social	  assistance	  women	  lose	  autonomy	  in	  their	  relations	  with	  men.	  When	  confronted	  with	  poverty,	  women	  are	  forced	  to	  exchange	  sex	  for	  food	  or	  shelter	  or	  engage	  in	  prostitution	  to	  survive.	  Unsafe	  housing	  increases	  vulnerability	  to	  rape	  and	  sexual	  harassment.	  Women	  are	  more	  likely	  to	  have	  children	  apprehended	  due	  to	  lack	  of	  adequate	  housing	  and	  food.	  Low	  welfare	  rates	  also	  limit	  the	  capacity	  of	  women	  to	  leave	  abusive	  relationships.74	  And	  with	  an	  inadequate	  justice	  system	  and	  restricted	  access	  to	  legal	  aid	  as	  a	  result	  of	  earlier-­‐mentioned	  cutbacks,	  women	  are	  unable	  to	  mitigate	  the	  effects	  of	  these	  economic	  reforms.	  	  	  3.4	   Legal	  Aid	  The	  Conservative	  government	  also	  eliminated	  the	  Court	  Challenges	  Program	  (CCP),	  “established	  in	  1985	  to	  fund	  test	  cases	  initiated	  by	  individuals	  and	  groups	  to	  challenge	                                                  72 “Women’s Inequality in Canada.” Submission. FAFIA (2008): 86.  73Ibid.,87.  74 “Women’s Inequality in Canada.” Submission. FAFIA (2008): 86.   27 federal	  laws	  and	  policies	  that	  violate	  the	  constitutional	  right	  to	  equality.”75	  The	  CCP	  provided	  low-­‐income	  women	  access	  to	  legal	  aid.	  Without	  legal	  aid,	  women	  find	  themselves,	  and	  their	  children,	  at	  greater	  risk	  for	  domestic	  violence	  and	  incapable	  of	  fighting	  against	  any	  policies	  that	  perpetuate	  and	  exacerbate	  the	  violence.	  The	  then	  Treasury	  Board	  President,	  John	  Baird,	  when	  asked	  about	  the	  CCP	  stated,	  “[I]	  just	  [didn’t]	  think	  it	  made	  sense	  for	  the	  government	  to	  subsidize	  lawyers	  to	  challenge	  the	  government’s	  own	  laws	  in	  court.”76	  	  	  FAFIA	  points	  out	  that	  “Legal	  aid	  is	  the	  basic	  means	  through	  which	  persons	  of	  low	  income	  can	  have	  access	  to	  legal	  representation	  and	  legal	  services	  to	  defend	  themselves	  in	  criminal	  cases	  and	  to	  exercise	  their	  rights	  under	  law	  in	  civil	  matters.	  Civil	  law	  legal	  aid	  is	  used	  disproportionately	  by	  women,	  specifically	  in	  family	  and	  poverty	  law	  matters.”77	  FAFIA	  further	  states:	  “This	  reduction	  or	  elimination	  of	  legal	  aid	  funding	  means	  that	  poor	  women	  cannot	  access	  legal	  services	  when	  they	  are	  denied	  benefits	  to	  which	  they	  are	  entitled,	  such	  as	  social	  assistance,	  employment	  insurance,	  disability	  benefits,	  and	  workers	  compensation,	  or	  when	  they	  face	  eviction,”	  and	  “when	  denied	  counsel	  and	  faced	  with	  representing	  themselves,	  women	  often	  give	  up	  pursuing	  their	  share	  of	  family	  assets,	  or	  variations	  in	  custody	  or	  support.”78	  These	  cuts,	  although	  ideological	  in	  nature,	  are	  justified	  as	  responses	  to	  reduce	  the	  deficit.	  According	  to	  the	  Canadian	  Centre	  for	  Policy	  Alternatives,	  “Putting	  the	  burden	  of	  debt	  reduction	  on	  social	                                                  75 Ibid., 20. 76 Knight, Melanie, and Kathleen Rodgers. 2012. “‘The Government Is Operationalizing Neo-liberalism’: Women’s Organizations, Status of Women Canada, and the Struggle for Progressive Social Change in Canada.” NORA- Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research 20 (4).pg. 270/271 77 “Women’s Inequality in Canada.” Submission. FAFIA (2008):17.  78 “Women’s Inequality in Canada.” Submission. FAFIA (2008):17.   28 spending	  cuts	  rather	  than	  on	  taxation	  meant	  that	  the	  burden	  of	  Canadian	  deficit	  reduction	  fell	  on	  the	  lower	  end	  of	  the	  income	  distribution,	  and	  this	  was	  a	  significant	  factor	  behind	  the	  pronounced	  increase	  in	  Canadian	  income	  inequality	  over	  the	  1990’s.”79	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	                                                  79 Jackson, Andrew. 2010. “Beware the Canadian Austerity Model: Europeans Should Shun Paul Martin’s Deficit-cutting Ways.” Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, June. https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/monitor/beware-canadian-austerity-model.    29 4	   Funding	  Cuts	  Since	  entering	  office	  in	  2006,	  the	  Conservative	  government	  has	  made	  a	  number	  of	  notable	  cutbacks	  to	  funding	  and	  to	  social	  services	  and	  programs	  that	  women	  relied	  on	  for	  an	  adequate	  standard	  of	  living	  and	  access	  to	  equal	  opportunity.	  Without	  continued	  funding,	  some	  of	  the	  most	  significant	  women’s	  organizations,	  including	  NGO	  and	  grassroots	  organizations,	  were	  either	  drastically	  reduced	  in	  size	  and	  capacity,	  or	  ceased	  to	  operate	  entirely.	  	  Ann	  Porter	  writes,	  “Since	  2006,	  more	  than	  30	  women’s	  organizations	  and	  research	  bodies	  had	  their	  funding	  cut	  or	  been	  ‘defunded,’	  including	  CRIAW,	  New	  Brunswick	  Coalition	  for	  Pay	  Equity,	  Reseau	  des	  tables	  regionales	  de	  groupes	  de	  femmes	  du	  Quebec,	  Alberta	  Network	  of	  Immigrant	  Women,	  Ontario	  Association	  of	  Interval	  and	  Transition	  Houses	  (OAITH),	  National	  Association	  of	  Women	  and	  the	  Law	  (NAWL),	  Native	  Women’s	  Association	  of	  Canada	  (NWAC),	  Ontario	  Coalition	  for	  Better	  Childcare,	  South	  Asian	  Women’s	  Centre	  (Toronto),	  Conseil	  d’intervention	  pour	  l’access	  des	  femmes	  au	  travail	  (sic),	  Match	  International	  (an	  aid	  organization	  that	  supported	  women’s	  rights	  in	  the	  developing	  world),	  and	  Sisters	  in	  Spirit	  (an	  Aboriginal	  Women’s	  project	  that	  had	  led	  the	  way	  in	  research	  regarding	  missing	  and	  murdered	  Aboriginal	  women).”80	  	  In	  addition	  to	  these	  grassroots	  organizations,	  the	  cuts	  to	  the	  government-­‐funded	  Status	  of	  Women	  Canada	  further	  clarified	  the	  governments	  position	  in	  upholding	  the	  CEDAW	  and	  women’s	  rights	  in	  general.	  	  	  	  	                                                  80 Porter, Ann. 2012. “Neo-Conservatism, Neo-Liberalism and Canadian Social Policy: Challenges for Feminism.” Canadian Woman Studies 29 (3), 6.    30 4.1	   Status	  of	  Women	  Canada	  The	  Royal	  Commission	  on	  the	  Status	  of	  Women	  Canada	  (SWC)	  is	  an	  intergovernmental	  organization	  established	  in	  1967	  with	  a	  mandate	  to	  “inquire	  into	  and	  report	  upon	  the	  status	  of	  women	  in	  Canada,	  and	  to	  recommend	  what	  steps	  might	  be	  taken	  by	  the	  federal	  government	  to	  ensure	  for	  women	  equal	  opportunities	  with	  men	  in	  all	  aspects	  of	  Canadian	  society."81	  According	  to	  sociologist	  Amber	  J.	  Fletcher,	  and	  political	  scientist	  Alana	  Cattapan,	  Status	  of	  Women	  Canada	  “was	  the	  product	  of	  extensive	  participatory	  consultation	  on	  issues	  affecting	  Canadian	  women.	  Public	  consultations	  across	  the	  country,	  along	  with	  468	  briefs	  and	  1,000	  letters	  from	  citizens,	  informed	  the	  work	  of	  the	  Commission	  and	  were	  reflected	  in	  the	  167	  recommendations	  made	  in	  its	  report	  to	  the	  Government	  of	  Canada.”82	  SWC	  provides	  funding	  to	  various	  women’s	  groups,	  “including	  women’s	  shelters	  and	  research	  institutes.	  It	  was	  designed	  to	  develop	  gender-­‐responsive	  policies	  for	  federal	  agencies	  and	  departments,	  and	  helped	  to	  monitor	  the	  implementation	  of	  the	  UN	  Convention	  on	  the	  Elimination	  of	  All	  forms	  of	  Discrimination	  Against	  Women.”83	  In	  addition	  to	  providing	  resources,	  such	  as	  legal	  aid,	  rape	  crisis	  centers,	  shelters,	  and	  health	  clinics,	  women’s	  organizations,	  such	  as	  SWC,	  provide	  government	  accountability	  and	  contribute	  to	  healthy	  public	  policy.84	  	                                                  81 Government of Canada. n.d. “Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada.” Status of Women Canada. http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/rc-cr/roycom/index-eng.html. 82 Fletcher, Amber J., and Alana Cattapan. 2015. “Shifting Paradigms, Enduring Legacies: Reflecting on the 1970 Royal Commission on the Status of Women.” May 19. http://www.bloggingforequality.ca/2015/05/shifting-paradigms-enduring-legacies.html. 83 Voices-voix. 2012. “Status of Women Canada: What Happened”, September 27. http://voices-voix.ca/en/facts/profile/status-women-canada. 84 O’Grady, Kathleen. 2006. “Status of Women Canada Cuts a Loss for Healthy Democracy: Grassroots Organizations Play an Instrumental Role in Government Accoutability and Contribute to Healthy Public Policies.” Canadian Women’s Health Network 9 (1/2).   31 	  In	  September	  2006,	  the	  federal	  government	  announced	  a	  $5	  million	  funding	  cut	  to	  the	  Status	  of	  Women	  Canada	  (SWC).	  These	  funding	  cuts	  forced	  12	  out	  of	  16	  offices	  closed.85	  Moreover,	  the	  government	  modified	  the	  SWC’s	  eligibility	  requirements,	  preventing	  organizations	  that	  engage	  in	  research,	  lobbying	  or	  advocacy	  access	  to	  funding.86	  An	  article	  published	  by	  ‘voices-­‐voix’,	  a	  non-­‐partisan	  coalition	  of	  Canadians	  and	  Canadian	  organizations,	  states,	  “the	  funding	  cut	  to	  organizations	  doing	  advocacy,	  research	  or	  lobbying	  is	  an	  attempt	  of	  the	  government	  to	  silence	  organizations	  that	  it	  considers	  ‘useless’	  or	  not	  sufficiently	  aligned	  with	  its	  own	  ideology.”87	  	  	  These	  funding	  cutbacks	  and	  modification	  to	  the	  eligibility	  requirements	  have	  led	  to	  the	  closure	  of	  various	  women’s	  organizations	  and	  offices	  across	  Canada.	  For	  instance,	  Sisters	  in	  Spirit,	  an	  organization	  created	  out	  of	  concern	  for	  the	  missing	  and	  murdered	  Aboriginal	  women	  and	  girls,	  generated	  a	  lot	  of	  support,	  and	  according	  to	  the	  Native	  Women’s	  Association,	  became	  “synonymous	  with	  missing	  and	  murdered	  Aboriginal	  women	  in	  Canada,	  and	  the	  experiences	  of	  their	  families	  and	  communities,”88	  yet	  the	  modification	  to	  the	  eligibility	  requirements	  left	  Sisters	  in	  Spirit	  ineligible	  to	  receive	  funding.	  NWAC	  wrote:	  “difficulties	  surrounding	  ongoing	  funding	  are	  not	  only	  impeding	                                                  85 Voices-voix. 2012. “Status of Women Canada: What Happened”, September 27. http://voices-voix.ca/en/facts/profile/status-women-canada. 86 Ibid. 87 Voices-voix. 2012. “Status of Women Canada: What Happened”, September 27. http://voices-voix.ca/en/facts/profile/status-women-canada. 88 Irngaut, Katharine. Press Release. “NWAC Is Concerned That the Federal Government Is Curbing the Success of Sisters in Spirit”, (2010): 1.    32 the	  success	  and	  the	  much	  needed	  work	  of	  this	  movement,	  but	  also	  causing	  unnecessary	  pain	  to	  the	  families	  and	  communities.”89	  	  The	  Canadian	  Federation	  of	  University	  Women	  (CFUW)	  wrote	  that	  “the	  relatively	  new	  funding	  guidelines	  at	  Status	  of	  Women	  Canada	  that	  removed	  research,	  advocacy	  and	  lobbying	  as	  fundable	  activities,	  have	  also	  limited	  the	  capacity	  of	  many	  women’s	  equality-­‐seeking	  NGO’s	  to	  engage	  meaningfully	  in	  ongoing	  dialogue	  with	  the	  Government	  of	  Canada	  about	  public	  policy,	  and	  the	  implementation	  of	  international	  conventions	  and	  commitments.”90	  According	  to	  FAFIA,	  SWC	  provided	  funding	  to	  women’s	  organizations	  precisely	  because	  they	  can	  analyze	  government	  policies,	  develop	  proposals	  that	  reflect	  the	  needs	  of	  women	  in	  their	  communities,	  and	  advocate	  for	  change.91	  These	  cutbacks	  and	  closures	  have	  not	  only	  impacted	  women’s	  political	  and	  economic	  rights,	  they	  have	  impacted	  the	  social	  and	  cultural	  support	  systems	  for	  women.	  	  4.2	   A	  Re-­‐Direction	  of	  Funding:	  Corporate	  Interests	  Interestingly	  enough,	  funding	  wasn’t	  solely	  cut,	  but	  re-­‐directed.	  Women’s	  organizations	  were	  forced	  to	  incorporate	  to	  qualify	  for	  funding,	  and	  for	  the	  first	  time	  for-­‐profit	  organizations	  became	  eligible	  for	  funding	  from	  the	  women’s	  program.92	  Those	  receiving	  the	  most	  significant	  financial	  support	  are	  now	  either	  for-­‐profit	  organizations,	  or	                                                  89 Irngaut, Katharine. Press Release. “NWAC Is Concerned That the Federal Government Is Curbing the Success of Sisters in Spirit”, (2010): 2.  90 Murphy, Susan. 2014. “Canada’s Eighth and Ninth Reports on CEDAW” (February 2014):2. http://www.fcfdu.org/Portals/0/Advocacy/AdvocacyIssues/JusticeandHumanRights/CFUW%20feedback%20on%20Canada’s%208th%20and%209th%20report%20on%20CEDAW%20(2).pdf. 91 FAFIA. “Women’s Inequality in Canada.” (2008): 57. http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CEDAW/Shared%20Documents/CAN/INT_CEDAW_NGO_CAN_42_8234_E.pdf. 92 Ibid.,57.    33 organizations	  with	  affiliations	  to	  major	  companies,	  often	  in	  natural	  resource	  extraction,	  public	  relations	  and/or	  law.	  And	  despite	  a	  mandate	  that	  restricts	  funding	  to	  organizations	  engaged	  in	  research,	  advocacy	  and	  lobbying,	  these	  recipients	  of	  federal	  funding	  are	  involved	  in	  precisely	  that.	  	  	  According	  to	  Status	  of	  Women	  Canada,	  funded	  projects	  for	  2014-­‐15	  included:	  the	  Automotive	  Industries	  Association	  of	  Canada93	  sponsored	  by	  25	  major	  corporations	  including,	  Bosch,	  BestBuy,	  Napa,	  and	  Valvolina;	  Canadian	  Women	  in	  Communications	  and	  Technology94	  sponsored	  by	  Bell,	  Rogers,	  MTS	  allstream,	  COGECO,	  Telus,	  Shaw,	  Microsoft.95	  Half	  a	  million	  dollars	  was	  granted	  to	  both	  the	  ‘Information	  and	  Communications	  Technology	  Council	  of	  Canada	  Inc.,	  and	  the	  ‘Mining	  Industry	  Human	  Resources	  Council’.	  The	  ‘Information	  and	  Communications	  Technology	  Council	  of	  Canada	  Inc.’	  is	  partnered	  with	  various	  corporations,	  universities,	  institutions,	  and	  industry	  leaders.	  Initiatives	  taken	  by	  the	  ‘Mining	  Industry	  Human	  Resources	  Council’	  include	  looking	  to	  recruit	  Aboriginal	  people	  as	  a	  consequence	  of	  a	  labour	  shortage	  “for	  the	  mutual	  benefit	  and	  economic	  prosperity.”96	  And	  the	  ‘Electricity	  Human	  Resources	  Canada’	  received	  just	  under	  three	  hundred	  thousand	  dollars.	  	  	                                                  93 “Disclosure of Grant and Contribution Awards: Automotive Industries Association of Canada.” n.d. Status of Women Canada. http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/trans/account-resp/pd-dp/dgc-dsc/2014-2015/gc-sc-898-eng.html. 94 “Disclosure of Grant and Contribution Awards: Canadian Women in Communications and Technology.” n.d. Status of Women Canada. http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/trans/account-resp/pd-dp/dgc-dsc/2014-2015/gc-sc-890-eng.html. 95 “Women in Communications and Technology.” n.d. https://www.wct-fct.com/. 96 “Mining Industry Human Resources Council.” n.d. http://www.mihr.ca/en/priorities/Sustainability.asp.   34 Objectives	  of	  the	  Mining	  Industry	  Human	  Resources	  Council	  include	  research,	  lobbying	  and	  advocacy,	  explicitly	  stating	  on	  their	  website	  that	  they	  “provide	  public	  policy	  support	  to	  mining	  industries	  associations.”97	  The	  Electricity	  Human	  Resources	  Canada	  mandate	  also	  includes	  conducting	  and	  disseminating	  valuable	  research.	  98	  It	  is	  important	  to	  note	  the	  degree	  of	  influence	  that	  corporate	  sponsorships	  and	  affiliations	  have	  in	  shaping	  the	  agenda	  of	  these	  organizations	  to	  represent	  their	  own	  interests.	  Htun	  and	  Weldon	  assert,	  “actors	  employ	  frames	  that	  advance	  their	  strategic	  interests,	  and	  they	  are	  more	  or	  less	  likely	  to	  prevail	  depending	  on	  their	  political	  clout,	  the	  extent	  of	  opposition,	  and	  their	  “fit”	  with	  historic	  patterns	  of	  policy.”99	  	  	  Federal	  funding	  has	  largely	  been	  provided	  for	  initiatives	  that	  focus	  almost	  exclusively	  on	  employment	  opportunities,	  completely	  neglecting	  to	  address	  the	  reasons	  why	  women	  continue	  to	  face	  economic	  and	  employment	  barriers.	  The	  re-­‐allocation	  of	  funding	  and	  the	  changes	  to	  SWC	  mandate	  and	  eligibility	  requirements	  has	  drastically	  restricted	  the	  capacity	  of	  women	  to	  effect	  change,	  generating	  deeper	  disparities	  and	  inequality.	  By	  providing	  grants	  to	  industry	  leaders	  and	  major	  corporations	  for	  initiatives	  that	  function	  predominantly	  to	  recruit	  women	  into	  the	  workforce,	  while	  denying	  funding	  to	  women’s	  organizations	  that	  provide	  comprehensive	  and	  gender-­‐based	  analysis	  of	  the	  underlying	  causes	  of	  why	  women	  find	  it	  difficult	  to	  access	                                                  97 “Mining Industry Human Resources Council.” n.d. http://www.mihr.ca/en/priorities/Sustainability.asp. 98 “Electricity Human Resources Canada.” n.d. http://electricityhr.ca/our-solutions/labour-market-intelligence/. 99 Htun, Mala, and S. Laurel Weldon. “When Do Governments Promote Women’s Rights? A Framework for the Comparative Analysis of Sex Equality Policy.” American Political Science Association, Perspectives on Politics, 8 (1). 2010: 211. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25698527?origin=JSTOR-pdf.   35 employment	  and	  economic	  opportunities,	  shows	  a	  blatant	  disregard	  towards	  the	  needs	  of	  women,	  while	  serving	  corporate	  interests.	  	  	  4.3	   National	  Standards	  for	  the	  Provision	  of	  Funding	  The	  Canada	  Social	  Transfer	  (CST),	  “more	  colloquially	  known	  as	  ‘transfer	  funds’	  is	  funding	  provided	  by	  the	  federal	  government	  to	  support	  social	  services	  and	  programs	  throughout	  the	  provinces	  and	  territories.	  However,	  since	  the	  implementation	  of	  the	  neo-­‐liberal	  ideology	  of	  reduced	  government	  intervention,	  government	  revenue	  has	  not	  been	  consistent	  with	  social	  investment,	  and	  without	  set	  national	  standards	  for	  the	  provision	  of	  the	  CST,	  provinces	  and	  territories	  are	  not	  being	  held	  accountable	  for	  their	  weakening	  social	  systems.	  In	  a	  submission	  to	  CEDAW,	  FAFIA	  recommends:	  “The	  government	  of	  Canada	  should	  attach	  common	  standards	  of	  adequacy	  for	  social	  assistance	  to	  the	  Canadian	  Social	  Transfer	  to	  ensure	  that	  social	  assistance	  rates	  in	  all	  jurisdictions	  are	  adequate	  to	  meet	  current	  real	  costs	  of	  food,	  clothing	  and	  housing,	  so	  that	  single	  mothers	  can	  support	  themselves	  and	  their	  children,	  and	  women	  are	  not	  coerced	  into	  remaining	  in	  violent	  relationships	  or	  engaging	  in	  prostitution	  because	  they	  lack	  adequate	  means	  to	  survive.”100	  	  	  	  	  	                                                  100 FAFIA. “Women’s Inequality in Canada.” (2008): 91. http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CEDAW/Shared%20Documents/CAN/INT_CEDAW_NGO_CAN_42_8234_E.pdf.   36 5	   Neo-­‐Liberalism	  Worldwide:	  Comparative	  Case	  Illustrations	  5.1	   Russia	  Neo-­‐liberal	  policies	  implemented	  throughout	  different	  states	  worldwide	  have	  consistently	  revealed	  disproportionately	  harmful	  effects	  on	  women.	  Even	  other	  CEDAW	  signatory	  states	  were	  unable	  to	  mitigate	  the	  effects	  that	  neoliberal	  policies	  have	  on	  women.	  Russia’s	  transition	  to	  democracy	  in	  1989	  became	  synonymous	  with	  neo-­‐liberalism.	  This	  entailed	  undergoing	  a	  process	  of	  economic	  restructuring.	  Implementing	  neo-­‐liberal	  policies	  signified	  severe	  cutbacks	  to	  social	  services	  and	  programs	  offered	  under	  socialism.	  Anthropologist	  Julie	  Hemment,	  states	  that	  “under	  state	  socialism,	  employment,	  education,	  healthcare,	  and	  day	  care	  had	  been	  constituted	  as	  rights.	  This	  new	  formulation	  changed	  all	  that.”101	  Hemment	  continues:	  	  State	  run	  factories,	  enterprises,	  and	  bureaucracies	  were	  shut	  down	  and	  privatized,	  resulting	  in	  massive	  layoffs.	  During	  the	  decade	  touted	  as	  Russia’s	  “transition	  to	  democracy”,	  social	  indicators	  plummeted-­‐	  rates	  of	  infection	  increased,	  male	  mortality	  rose	  dramatically,	  and	  a	  majority	  of	  the	  population	  found	  themselves	  to	  be	  impoverished.	  Early	  research	  indicated	  that	  women	  were	  especially	  hard	  hit	  by	  this	  economic	  restructuring.	  Guaranteed	  full	  employment	  and	  equality	  under	  state	  socialism,	  women	  as	  a	  group	  experienced	  democratization	  as	  demotion,	  a	  net	  loss	  rather	  than	  a	  gain.	  They	  found	  it	  less	  easy	  to	  adapt	  to	  market	  conditions	  and	  have	  fared	  less	  well	  than	  men	  in	  the	  new	  private	  enterprises	  and	  businesses.	  Meanwhile,	                                                  101 Hemmet, Julie. Empowering Women in Russia: Activism, Aid, and NGO’s. Indiana: Indiana University Press (2007): 52   37 as	  the	  primary	  caregivers	  for	  children,	  the	  elderly,	  and	  the	  sick,	  women	  have	  been	  especially	  hard	  hit	  by	  cutbacks	  in	  state	  provisioning.”102	  	   Nikos	  Passas,	  Professor	  of	  Criminal	  Justice,	  examines	  the	  consequences	  of	  neo-­‐liberalism	  in	  Russia	  and	  around	  the	  world	  and	  argues	  that	  neo-­‐liberal	  policies	  in	  Russia	  have	  lowered	  productivity,	  increased	  unemployment,	  intensified	  inequalities,	  raised	  levels	  of	  poverty	  and	  eliminated	  social	  safety	  nets.103	  “Even	  the	  chair	  of	  the	  Privatization	  Commission	  admitted	  that	  the	  process	  [of	  neoliberal	  economic	  reform]	  created	  ‘pauper-­‐proprietors’	  who	  cannot	  survive	  without	  state	  protection.”104	  And	  “women,	  who	  are	  increasingly	  breadwinners	  but	  make	  up	  two	  thirds	  of	  the	  newly	  unemployed	  in	  Russia,	  are	  even	  more	  vulnerable.	  Economic	  desperation	  drives	  many	  of	  them	  to	  prostitution	  or	  high	  risk	  taking.”105	  The	  neo-­‐liberal	  policies	  implemented	  in	  the	  efforts	  to	  democratize	  instead	  drastically	  reduced	  the	  role	  of	  government	  through	  cutbacks	  in	  government	  spending,	  leaving	  those	  most	  disadvantaged	  by	  these	  policies	  impoverished.	  	  	  	  	  	  	                                                  102 Hemmet, Julie. Empowering Women in Russia: Activism, Aid, and NGO’s. Indiana: Indiana University Press (2007): 6.  103 Passas, Nikos. n.d. “Global Anomie, Dysnomie, and Economic Crime: Hidden Consequences of Neo-liberalism and Globalization in Russia and Around the World.” Social Justice, Criminal Justice and Globalization at the New Millenium, 27 (2): 29-30. 104 Passas, Nikos. n.d. “Global Anomie, Dysnomie, and Economic Crime: Hidden Consequences of Neo-liberalism and Globalization in Russia and Around the World.” Social Justice, Criminal Justice and Globalization at the New Millenium, 27 (2): 30.  105 Ibid.,33.   38 5.2	   Greece	  Greece’s	  conservative-­‐led	  government	  has	  cut	  spending	  and	  raised	  taxes	  in	  an	  attempt	  to	  lower	  its	  budget	  deficit,	  and	  the	  consequences	  reveal	  disproportionately	  harmful	  effects	  on	  women.	  For	  instance,	  a	  report	  written	  by	  the	  European	  Women’s	  Lobby	  (EWL)	  states:	  “In	  Greece	  more	  than	  30%	  of	  the	  budget	  of	  the	  General	  Secretariat	  on	  Equality,	  the	  only	  public	  mechanism	  on	  equality,	  was	  cut.”106	  CEDAW's	  Concluding	  Observations	  on	  Greece	  in	  2013	  demonstrated	  strong	  concerns	  around	  austerity	  measures	  and	  the	  lack	  of	  social	  services	  and	  programs	  for	  women.	  The	  report	  states:	  “The	  Committee	  reminds	  the	  State	  party	  that	  even	  in	  times	  of	  fiscal	  constraints	  and	  economic	  crisis,	  special	  efforts	  must	  be	  made	  to	  respect	  human	  rights,	  sustain	  and	  expand	  social	  investment	  and	  social	  protection	  and	  to	  employ	  a	  gender	  sensitive	  approach,	  giving	  priority	  to	  women	  in	  vulnerable	  situations.”107	  According	  to	  CEDAW,	  these	  drastic	  cuts	  have	  also	  resulted	  in	  a	  lack	  of	  organizations	  and	  institutions	  designed	  to	  collect	  research	  and	  provide	  gender-­‐based	  analysis.	  The	  Committee	  expresses	  concerns	  that	  “very	  few	  studies	  and	  evaluations	  have	  been	  conducted	  to	  monitor	  the	  gender	  specific	  effects	  of	  the	  financial	  crisis”108	  and	  that	  updated	  data	  by	  “sex,	  age,	  race,	  ethnicity,	  geographical	  location	  and	  socioeconomic	  background	  are	  necessary	  for	  an	  accurate	  assessment	  of	  the	  situation	  of	  women.”109	  A	  lack	  of	  updated	  data	  signifies	  either	  a	  lack	  of	  political	  will	  to	  carry	  out	  gender-­‐based	  impact	  assessments	  and/or	  a	                                                  106 “The Price of Austerity- The Impact on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in Europe.” European Women’s Lobby (2012): 13.  107 CEDAW. “Concluding Observations on the Seventh Periodic Report of Greece Adopted by the Committee at Its Fifty Fourth Session”. CEDAW/C/GRC/CO/7. United Nations (2013): 2. 108 Ibid., 1. 109 Ibid., 10.    39 serious	  shortage	  of	  women’s	  organizations	  that	  act	  as	  mechanisms	  of	  accountability	  by	  providing	  updated	  research	  and	  gender-­‐based	  analyses.	  	  	   The	  consequences	  of	  austerity	  revealed	  themselves	  with	  unparalleled	  records	  of	  unemployment	  and	  poverty.	  Greece’s	  unemployment	  rate	  reached	  a	  new	  record	  of	  27.2%	  as	  of	  January	  2013.110	  According	  to	  Journalist	  Fragkiska	  Megaloudi,	  the	  “slashing	  of	  Greece’s	  social	  safety	  net	  has	  caused	  the	  public	  to	  deteriorate.”111	  High	  rates	  of	  unemployment	  have	  increased	  depression	  rates	  by	  50	  percent,	  drug	  and	  alcohol	  abuse	  has	  risen	  along	  with	  outbreaks	  of	  HIV,	  and	  many	  women	  have	  turned	  to	  prostitution.	  112	  	  	  	  5.3	   United	  Kingdom	  Sharing	  many	  similarities,	  neo-­‐liberalism	  in	  the	  UK	  has	  had	  devastating	  consequences	  for	  women	  as	  well.	  In	  CEDAW's	  Concluding	  Observations	  on	  the	  UK,	  Paragraph	  21,	  titled	  ‘The	  Impact	  of	  Austerity	  Measures	  on	  Women,’	  reports	  concerns	  around	  austerity	  measures	  and	  budget	  reductions	  that	  “have	  resulted	  in	  lack	  of	  funding	  for	  organizations	  providing	  social	  services	  to	  women,	  including	  those	  that	  are	  specialist	  women-­‐only	  services”113	  A	  UK	  study	  conducted	  by	  OXFAM	  confirms	  that	  women	  have	                                                  110 Al Jazeera. 2013. “Greece Unemployment Hits Record High”, April 12, sec. Business & Economy. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2013/04/201341261959680936.html. 111 Megaloudi, Fragkiska. 2014. “Austerity and Addiction in Athens.” Al Jazeera, February 21. 112 Ibid. 113 CEDAW. “Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women”. United Nations (2014): 41. http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/publication_pdf/CEDAW%20concluding%20observations%20251114.pdf.   40 been	  most	  affected	  by	  the	  tax	  increases	  and	  cuts	  to	  social	  services.114	  “Women	  typically	  use	  public	  services	  more	  than	  men	  for	  a	  variety	  of	  reasons	  and	  will	  be	  more	  significantly	  impacted	  by	  their	  closure	  both	  in	  their	  own	  right	  and,	  usually,	  as	  principal	  carers.	  The	  combination	  of	  these	  impacts	  from	  austerity	  measures	  will	  have	  long-­‐term	  consequences	  for	  both	  gender	  equality	  and,	  most	  likely,	  child	  poverty	  in	  the	  UK.”115	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	                                                  114 OXFAM (2013): 3. https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/cs-true-cost-austerity-inequality-uk-120913-en.pdf. 115 Ibid.   41 	  6	   Eliminating	  Discrimination	  Against	  Women:	  Autonomous	  Social	  Movements	  and	  Social	  Services	  The	  CEDAW	  Committee	  determined	  that	  the	  overarching	  factors	  contributing	  to	  the	  discrimination	  against	  women	  are	  socio-­‐economic	  disparities	  and	  the	  cutbacks	  to	  social	  services,	  which	  “increase	  women’s	  vulnerability	  to	  violence,	  as	  a	  lack	  of	  access	  to	  such	  resources	  reduces	  the	  choices	  of	  women	  in	  situations	  of	  risk	  and	  prevents	  them	  from	  escaping	  violence.”116	  Women,	  especially	  Aboriginal,	  single	  mother,	  immigrant	  and	  refugee,	  and	  racialized	  minority	  women,	  make	  up	  the	  highest	  percentage	  of	  those	  living	  in	  poverty.117	  Therefore,	  measures	  taken	  to	  eliminate	  discrimination	  against	  women	  must	  include	  improving	  access	  to	  healthcare,	  education,	  housing	  and	  supports	  for	  family	  and	  children.118	  Improving	  services	  and	  implementing	  effective	  initiatives	  designed	  to	  eliminate	  discrimination	  against	  women	  require	  collaboration	  with	  women’s	  organizations.	  Further,	  according	  to	  CEDAW,	  any	  systems	  or	  institutions	  in	  opposition	  must	  be	  modified,	  or	  eliminated.	  	  	  FAFIA	  reports,	  “While	  current	  Canadian	  governments	  have	  the	  financial	  capacity	  to	  eliminate	  poverty	  among	  women,	  restructuring	  has	  resulted	  in	  reduced	  spending	  and	                                                  116 Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women.  “Report of the Inquiry Concerning Canada of the Committee of the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women Under Article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women”. CEDAW/C/OP.8/CAN/1. United Nations (2015): 25.  117 “Women’s Inequality in Canada.” 2008. Submission. FAFIA. 118 Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women.  “Report of the Inquiry Concerning Canada of the Committee of the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women Under Article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women”. CEDAW/C/OP.8/CAN/1. United Nations (2015): 26.    42 tightened	  restrictions	  on	  social	  assistance	  and	  other	  programs	  essential	  to	  the	  safety	  and	  well-­‐being	  of	  poor	  women	  in	  Canada.”119	  	  6.1	   Violence	  Against	  Women	  	  Failing	  to	  address	  these	  violations,	  women	  in	  Canada	  are	  more	  likely	  to	  experience	  discrimination	  at	  multiple	  levels.	  CEDAW	  notes	  that	  social	  and	  economic	  factors	  increase	  women’s	  vulnerability	  to	  violence,	  often	  forcing	  women	  to	  “choose	  between	  poverty	  and	  remaining	  in	  a	  violent	  relationship.”120	  In	  CEDAW’s	  2003	  Concluding	  Observations,	  the	  Committee	  reported:	  “over	  86%	  of	  criminal	  assaults	  in	  Canada	  are	  against	  women,”	  and	  “every	  second,	  a	  woman	  in	  Canada	  experiences	  some	  form	  of	  sexual	  violence.”121	  According	  to	  Statistics	  Canada,	  over	  half	  of	  the	  female	  population	  has	  experienced	  physical	  or	  sexual	  assault;	  however,	  only	  6%	  of	  assaults	  are	  reported	  to	  the	  police,	  122	  and	  CEDAW	  confirms	  “Aboriginal	  women	  and	  girls	  experience	  extremely	  high	  levels	  of	  violence	  in	  Canada,	  particularly	  the	  high	  number	  of	  disappearances	  and	  murders	  of	  Aboriginal	  women.”123	  A	  5-­‐year	  national	  study	  of	  100	  women	  who	  were	  victims	  of	  male	  violence	  reported	  “failures	  in	  government	  oversight	  of	  911	  operators,	  police	  failures,	  poor	  decision	  making	  and	  failure	  to	  accord	                                                  119 “Women’s Inequality in Canada.” Submission. FAFIA (2008): 85.  120 Ibid., 29.  121 Ibid., 29. 122 “Date Violence: Fact Sheet.” n.d. Native Women’s Association Canada. http://www.nwac.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Date-Violence-Fact-Sheet.pdf. 123 Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women. “Report of the Inquiry Concerning Canada of the Committee of the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women Under Article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women”. CEDAW/C/OP.8/CAN/1. United Nations (2015): 3.    43 appropriate	  sentencing.”124	  FAFIA	  writes,	  “Women	  across	  Canada	  report	  that	  the	  two	  biggest	  systemic	  barriers	  to	  women	  and	  children	  escaping	  violence	  are	  inadequate	  income	  assistance	  and	  the	  lack	  of	  affordable	  housing.”	  	  Despite	  the	  prevalence	  of	  violence	  at	  all	  levels,	  very	  few	  services	  and	  programs	  exist	  to	  protect	  women	  from	  violence.	  And	  without	  adequate	  counseling,	  shelters,	  housing	  and	  legal	  aid,	  the	  capacity	  of	  women	  to	  leave	  violent	  situations	  and	  to	  challenge	  discriminatory	  institutions	  that	  perpetuate	  this	  violence	  is	  greatly	  restricted.	  	  6.2	   Mechanisms	  of	  Accountability,	  Shaping	  Progressive	  Policy	  The	  importance	  of	  autonomous	  women’s	  social	  movements	  in	  shaping	  progressive	  social	  policy	  cannot	  be	  understated.	  According	  to	  voices-­‐voix,	  “autonomous	  organizations….are	  characterized	  by	  independent	  actions,	  where	  women	  organize	  on	  the	  basis	  of	  self-­‐activity,	  set	  their	  own	  goals,	  and	  decide	  their	  own	  forms	  of	  organization	  and	  struggle.”125	  Democratic	  theorists	  Htun	  and	  Weldon,	  agree,	  “[autonomous]	  social	  movements	  are	  critical	  for	  advancing	  inclusion	  and	  democracy.”	  They	  argue:	  “Autonomous	  social	  movements	  are	  critical	  to	  understanding	  the	  origins	  of	  progressive	  social	  policies	  that	  explicitly	  challenge	  the	  established	  social	  order	  by	  reshaping	  relations	  among	  groups.	  Autonomous	  social	  movements	  develop	  oppositional	  consciousness,	  imagine	  new	  forms	  of	  social	  organization,	  and	  	  mobilize	  broad	  societal	  action	  to	  generate	  understanding	  and	  support.	  They	  are	  essential	  to	                                                  124 “Women’s Inequality in Canada.” Submission. FAFIA (2008): 30.  125 Voices-voix. “Status of Women Canada: What Happened”, (September 2012): 554. http://voices-voix.ca/en/facts/profile/status-women-canada.    44 catalyzing	  the	  process	  of	  progressive	  social	  policy	  change	  and	  for	  its	  continuation.”126	  	  	  	   In	  Canada,	  women’s	  organizations	  not	  only	  help	  shape	  progressive	  public	  policy,	  but	  also	  behave	  as	  mechanisms	  of	  accountability.	  Autonomous	  women’s	  organizations	  also	  play	  an	  integral	  role	  in	  government	  accountability	  by	  providing	  updated	  and	  comprehensive	  data,	  reporting	  to	  domestic	  and	  international	  human	  rights	  bodies,	  providing	  impact	  assessments	  and	  making	  demands	  on	  the	  government	  for	  adequate	  social	  investment.	  Returning	  to	  CEDAW’s	  2008	  Concluding	  Observations,	  paragraph	  14:	  ‘The	  Committee	  calls	  upon	  the	  State	  party	  to	  establish	  minimum	  standards	  for	  the	  provision	  of	  funding	  to	  social	  assistance	  programmes,	  applicable	  at	  the	  federal,	  provincial	  and	  territorial	  levels;	  a	  monitoring	  mechanism	  to	  ensure	  the	  accountability	  of	  provincial	  and	  territorial	  governments	  to	  ensure	  funding	  decisions	  meet	  the	  needs	  of	  the	  most	  vulnerable	  groups	  of	  women	  and	  do	  not	  result	  in	  discrimination	  against	  women”	  and	  “calls	  upon	  the	  State	  party	  to	  carry	  out	  impact	  assessments	  of	  social	  programmes	  related	  to	  women’s	  rights.”127	  	  	   Funding	  cutbacks	  to	  autonomous	  women’s	  organizations	  in	  Canada	  have	  reduced	  the	  mechanisms	  of	  accountability,	  and	  thus,	  responsibility	  for	  upholding	  women’s	  rights.	  	  Research,	  advocacy,	  and	  lobbying,	  permitted	  women’s	  organizations	  to	  hold	  particular	  people	  and	  institutions	  accountable	  for	  discriminatory	  behavior.	  Their	                                                  126 Htun, Mala, and S. Laurel Weldon. 2012. “The Civic Origins of Progressive Policy Change: Combating Violence Against Women in Global Perspective, 1975-2005.” American Political Science Review 106 (3): 2.          127 CEDAW. “Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women: Canada”. CEDAW/C/CAN/CO/7. United Nations (2008): 3.    45 role	  provides	  expertise	  and	  on	  the	  ground	  knowledge	  important	  for	  progressive	  policy,	  making	  the	  existence	  of	  autonomous	  women’s	  organizations	  and	  collaboration	  with	  them	  an	  essential	  part	  of	  eliminating	  discrimination	  against	  women.	  Without	  adequate	  collaboration	  with	  autonomous	  women’s	  organizations,	  the	  State	  of	  Canada	  cannot	  effectively	  eliminate	  discrimination	  against	  women.	  	  	  	  Conclusion	  As	  shown,	  neo-­‐liberal	  policies	  significantly	  increase	  unemployment	  and	  poverty	  while	  simultaneously	  removing,	  or	  severely	  restricting	  social	  services	  and	  programs	  meant	  to	  reduce	  the	  impact	  of	  such	  crises.	  Social	  safety	  nets,	  such	  as	  social	  assistance	  and	  legal	  aid,	  are	  necessary	  in	  an	  effort	  to	  reduce	  the	  overall	  inequality	  that	  occurs,	  or	  has	  occurred,	  within	  a	  discriminatory	  system.	  However,	  with	  the	  implementation	  of	  neo-­‐liberalism	  these	  resources	  and	  services	  have	  been	  steadily	  diminishing,	  and	  those	  most	  affected	  by	  these	  policies	  are	  women,	  particularly	  low-­‐income,	  Aboriginal,	  single	  mother,	  immigrant	  and	  refugee	  and	  racialized	  minority	  women.	  FAFIA	  reported,	  “The	  lack	  of	  protection	  of	  Aboriginal	  women’s	  human	  rights	  and	  their	  economic	  and	  social	  marginalization	  permit	  the	  cycle	  of	  racialized	  and	  sexualized	  violence	  to	  continue.”128	  If	  a	  person	  experiences	  systemic	  discrimination,	  he	  or	  she	  is	  increasingly	  vulnerable	  to	  multiple	  forms	  of	  discrimination	  in	  other	  facets	  of	  their	  life.	  Reducing	  or	  eliminating	  access	  to	  services	  not	  only	  severely	  restricts	  the	  capacity	  of	  women	  to	  have	  an	  adequate	  standard	  of	  living,	  but	  also	  restricts	  their	  ability	  to	  make	  changes	  within	  that	                                                  128 FAFIA. “Women’s Inequality in Canada.” (2008): 11. http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CEDAW/Shared%20Documents/CAN/INT_CEDAW_NGO_CAN_42_8234_E.pdf.   46 discriminatory	  system.	  As	  Alex	  Himelfarb,	  Clerk	  of	  the	  Privy	  Council	  and	  Secretary	  to	  the	  Cabinet,	  has	  stated,	  “The	  deeper	  the	  cuts,	  the	  more	  public	  services	  erode,	  the	  more	  inequality	  and	  poverty	  grow.”129	  Eliminating	  discrimination	  demands	  a	  redistribution	  of	  power	  to	  provide	  greater	  representation	  and	  capacity	  in	  decision-­‐making,	  often	  perceived	  as	  vital	  components	  of	  democracy.	  It	  requires	  providing	  resources	  and	  services	  to	  those	  who	  have	  been,	  and	  are,	  discriminated	  against,	  and	  supporting	  and	  collaborating	  with	  the	  autonomous	  women’s	  organizations	  capable	  of	  understanding	  the	  actual	  needs	  of	  women.	  An	  absence	  of	  these	  efforts	  demonstrates	  a	  blatant	  disregard	  in	  upholding	  the	  CEDAW	  and	  violates	  the	  rights	  of	  women	  in	  Canada.	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	                                                  129 Himelfarb, Alex. 2013. “The Trouble with Austerity: Cutting Is More About Ideology Than Economics.” The Star, February 24, sec. 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