Key Achievements


In Ann's view, the overarching achievement of the Advisory Council has been to raise public awareness and education on the need for women to be equitably represented in every aspect of society. The proof of their success is that the public can now articulate the need for women's involvement in all areas of government, and there are significant numbers of women in senior levels of government—ministers and deputy ministers, directors, and cabinet members.

Ann regards such achievements as belonging to women in general and not just to herself; she measures progress by the gains made to women's confidence and consciousness of who they are and what they can achieve. Conceding that there are younger women who believe "they can do anything they want on an individual basis," who don't see the need for a Women's Movement, Ann counters that there are many gaps and issues concerning women as a group that are not being addressed in public policy—a signal that "ongoing discussion" is needed now as much as ever.

Ann would target funding for education of girls and boys before they reached junior high school to instil a sense of potential and opportunities. Girls should be made aware of non-traditional fields of employment, and the issue of pay equity. Ann sees that all too often male teachers and classmates can discourage girls from pursuing their interests, and feels that more women teachers from grade five through high school would provide vital support. While girls are graduating from high school and entering university at the same rate as boys, they do not go into the higher-paying fields:

We are valued by the kind of jobs we have and the money we make. On an individual basis, yes you do value individuals for their conscience, their life, their friendship, and their intellect, but on a society basis—women are not there.

Other social and economic needs she earmarks for attention include the education of girls on the need to maintain independence and provide for their family, if necessary. Ann is also concerned about the issue of recruitment and support for girls in leadership roles. Society as a whole, and women in their own lives, must be prepared to advocate for this kind of change to make it happen.