Throughout the Pickton trial, the eyes of the world are going to be focused on the precarious and dangerous lives women live in the Downtown Eastside, the public services that are provided, the help available, and the support that is offered.
 
“We have already laid the foundation of this work with the Gender Equity Strategy, however, the current council is refusing to implement the recommendations already agreed upon,” states former COPE Councillor Anne Roberts.
 
 “The City of Vancouver documented in 2003 the growing crisis in the lives of women and their families, particularly hard hit by the changes and cuts to provincial polices and programs such as welfare, child care, health, employment, sexual assault and violence, legal aid, immigration and advocacy on these women’s behalf,” concluded Roberts.
 
The situation for women has not improved.  In fact, since 2003 the crisis has worsened. One tangible example of this is the lack of affordable and safe housing for women and their children. “As the Olympics fuels a spiral of real estate speculation, a growing number of homeless women at risk of violence on the street and in emergency shelters, and women have few places to turn.  Although the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre has allowed women to sleep overnight there, the centre is not a proper shelter, and their funds will be running out two months. Where are women going to go?” asks former COPE  Councillor, Ellen Woodsworth.
 
In spite of years of promises, neither the federal government, the provincial government or the city have provide overnight shelters for women.
 
Recognizing the long-standing patterns of discrimination of women and girls,  the City of Vancouver adopted a Gender Equality Strategy in July 2005, which was recognized by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities as a model for other municipalities to follow across the country.
 
“The city needs to recognize that it has a responsibility to ensure that all its citizens are treated with  respect and enjoy a quality of life which affords them dignity, independence, and freedom from violence and discrimination,” states Anne Roberts. “The is why I am bringing this motion to council, and why I will continue to pressure the NPA to implement the recommendations from the Gender Equality Strategy.”
 

Cadman wants Gender Equality Strategy

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