The commission's public investigation began in the spring of 1968, and for six months public hearings were held across Canada, including the Far North. This commission attracted extensive public interest, hearing 468 briefs and additional testimony, all of which attested to widespread problems experienced by women in all walks of Canadian society.
The RCSW produced a 488-page report containing 167 recommendations on such matters as equal pay for work of equal value, maternity leave, DAY CARE, BIRTH CONTROL, FAMILY LAW, the INDIAN ACT, educational opportunities, access of women to managerial positions, part-time work and PENSIONS. The recommendations were based on fundamental principles which assumed that equality of opportunity for Canadian men and women was possible, desirable and ethically necessary. The Report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada was tabled in the House of Commons on 7 Dec 1970. The RCSW played a major role in defining the STATUS OF WOMEN as a legitimate social problem. It focused attention on women's grievances, recommended changes to eliminate sexual inequality by means of social policy, and mobilized a constituency of women's groups to press for implementation of the commission's recommendations.
Since 1971 a federal cabinet minister has been responsible for the office of the Status of Women. Initially the Privy Council Office oversaw the office, and in 1976 it became an independent agency with an appointed coordinator to oversee the Office of the Status of Women.
By the 1980s most of the 167 recommendations in the RCSW report had been partially implemented and many had been fully implemented. Several controversial recommendations, however, had not been acted upon by the federal government. For example, a societal problem that was virtually unrecognized by the commission’s report was VIOLENCE against women but by the 1980s, public awareness regarding gender-based violence was growing. Since 1947, Canada has participated in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW). In 1999 the United Nations enacted November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. In Canada, December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Parliament established the day in 1991 to mark the anniversary of the 1989 murders of 14 young women at L'ÉCOLE POLYTECHNIQUE DE MONTRÉAL. Annually, March 8, is celebrated globally as the International Women's Day to recognize and to reflect on the progress that has been made to achieve gender equality and to honour the contributions of women.
Today, the office for the Status of Women Canada works to advance equality for women and girls by working with federal and provincial programs to promote economic security, women's leadership and democratic participation, and to end violence against women.
CERISE MORRIS Revised: ANNE-MARIE PEDERSEN
Advisory Council on the Status of Women, Ten Years Later (1979); S. Burt, L. Code, L.Dorney, eds., Changing Patterns: Women in Canada, 2nd ed. (1993), N. Griffiths, Penelope's Web (1976); Report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada (1970); B. Freeman, The Satellite Sex ( 2001).
Links to Other Sites
Index to Federal Royal Commissions
A bibliographic index of federal Royal Commission documents. From Library and Archives Canada.
Status of Women Canada
This site offers information about International Women's Day, Women's History Month, International Day of the Girl, Gender-Based Analysis+ (GBA+), and other programs that recognize the role of women in modern Canadian society. From the Government of Canada.
Changing Women, Changing History: Canadian Women
This Library and Archives Canada site features biographies of women activists who have made substantial contributions to the lives of all Canadian women. Also offers teaching guides and reference sources.