Are Our Political Leaders Up for Debate?

We are proud to say that today the Women’s Centre of Calgary is teaming up with The Alliance for Women’s Rights to launch Up for Debate – a campaign calling on all federal political parties to make meaningful commitments to change women’s lives for the better. The Alliance is a network of over 100 women’s organizations and allies from across Canada united in raising awareness about women’s rights in the lead up to the next federal election.

When it comes time to elect our next government in 2015, we want to see party leaders explain how they plan to build a more equal Canada for us all. They must start by committing to participate in a nationally broadcast leaders’ debate focused on policies and issues that impact women’s lives.

Up For Debate Sharegraphic 1

What are the issues?

Ending violence against women and girls

  • Since 1980 over a thousand Aboriginal women and girls have been murdered.
  • Each day more than 8,000 women and children in Canada go to a shelter seeking protection.
  • 8 million Canadians have experienced domestic or sexual violence in the past five years alone.
  • Intimate partner violence accounts for 25 percent of all police-reported violent crimes in Canada.
  • Violence against women costs the Canadian economy over $9 billion each year.
  • In 2013, 62 percent of women who visited the Women’s Centre were or had been in a violent relationship.

Ending women’s economic inequality

  • In Canada, women continue to earn 20 percent less than their male peers for the same full-time work, do twice as much unpaid work at home, and are more likely to be poor.
  • Women make up two-thirds of all minimum wage workers in Canada.
  • They are also three times as likely to work part-time and more likely than men to hold multiple jobs.
  • In 2013, 83 percent of women who visited the Women’s Centre were dealing with poverty.

Support women’s leadership

  • Women continue to be under-represented at every level of government, making up 25 percent of federal members of parliament and provincial representatives.
  • In the boardroom, women are outnumbered at a rate of 1 to 5.
  • Women make up over half of all university graduates, but only 1 in 4 senior managers.
  • In 2013, Women’s Centre volunteers hosted 33 workshops on women’s issues and public policy, giving women the opportunity to learn and practice leadership skills.

The struggle to realize equal rights for women and girls is far from over.

Women can determine the outcome of the next federal election. Women vote in greater numbers – over a half million more women than men voted in the last federal election. We want proof that federal leadership candidates understand the diverse needs and realities of women.

We’re up for the debate. The question is, are the party leaders? Women in Canada have questions, Up for Debate challenges our leaders to answer them.

You can follow the Up For Debate campaign on Twitter and on Facebook.

For more information, contact Rhoda at 403-264-1155 or

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