Women in Canada have made great strides in the past decade, especially in the health sector. One of the most notable steps forward was the elimination of the “tampon tax.”
“In 2014, it’s estimated that approximately 17,876,392 Canadian women between the ages of 12–49 spent about $519,976,963 on menstrual hygiene products,” they explain.
In May 2015, a motion was passed to lift the federal tax on menstrual hygiene products.
Even though steps forward like this are promising, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the deep-rooted nature of gender inequality in our country. A 2020 study by Statistics Canada found that parental duties were shifting because families were forced to work and learn from home.
Men were more likely to say that parental tasks—staying home with children or taking them to school, when it reopened—were shared equally, while women said they did those tasks alone.
“The majority of women (64%) reported that they mostly performed homeschooling or helping children with homework, while 19% of men reported being mostly responsible for this task,” the study said. “When men were asked, almost half (46%) reported that homeschooling was mostly their partner’s responsibility.”
It’s not surprising, then, that levels of anxiety and depression have nearly doubled in mothers during the pandemic, another Canadian study found.
“We anticipated seeing increases in depression and anxiety due to parents experiencing various pandemic stressors, like income loss and balancing work from home with homeschooling, but a near doubling was surprising,” associate professor at at the University of Calgary Sheri Madigan, one of the study’s authors, told CTV News.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in domestic disturbance calls. Because of the continued growth of gender-based violence in Canada, the federal government decided to invest $100 million in support of women affected by the pandemic.
Although the data may seem bleak, there are many organizations who are offering their help and guidance specifically geared toward women struggling at this time.
Here are some groups we wanted to highlight:
- The Canadian Women’s Foundation provides resources for those seeking support and those who want to give it.
- The Prosperity Project is a non-project focused on mitigating the impact of the pandemic on Canadian women who are disproportionately affected.
- The Women in Need Society offers support for vulnerable women and children.
If you or someone you know is being abused, call the Assaulted Women’s Helpline: 1-866-863-0511. In an emergency, dial 911.