Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I want to welcome all the members.
I also want to use this opportunity to say goodbye to my colleagues, as this may be one of the last meetings of this Parliament.
Here is the motion I am putting forward:
That the Committee undertake, with regard to the Women's Program of Status of Women Canada, a study of the Government of Canada programs that promote women's leadership in francophone minority communities (OLMCs) in Canada in order to inform the Committee members about the challenges francophone women face in attaining decision-making positions and positions of responsibility and that the Committee make recommendations to the government so that it can implement positive strategies that promote equality among women and men in decision-making structures.
Mr. Chair, I would first like to discuss the considerable challenges at play.
We know that the representation of women in networks of influential contacts is low. That includes chambers of commerce across the country. Traditionally and historically, men have held chamber of commerce positions. Those networks are extremely important.
There are also other influential networks. Whether we are talking about hospital boards, boards of directors of banks or credit unions, or municipal, provincial or federal politics, the representation of women is still very low. If the trend continues and the situation remains the same, we might achieve equality around 2097. There will probably be some variables or disruptions that could push that 2097 target back even further if no concrete action is taken and no measures are put forward.
We have to work on boosting women's confidence. Many women hesitate to apply for decision-making positions. That even includes boards of institutions, such as school boards. Yet they follow their children at the primary, secondary and post-secondary levels. They hesitate to step forward. Self-confidence must be developed and promoted.
Moreover, it is difficult to reconcile work and family life. We know full well that it is very difficult for women with children to balance their work schedule and the school schedule. Schedules are not the same in the business world, in the world of boards of directors.
That is why I am moving this motion today.