Issues related to Family Policy

Issues around family and power were at the heart of much feminist organizing from the 1970s to the 1990s.

Women activists, fuelled by their important role in the anti-Vietnam war and student movements, began to examine their secondary status in both society and within these organizations. What followed were serious debates about sexual relationships, gender roles and the base of the family itself – patriarchy. Women in these groups started asserting themselves; many began organizing independently as women.

Feminist activists brought an understanding of patriarchy, male power and the sexual division of labour into their struggles over the institution of marriage, divorce, birth control and reproductive freedom. The questioning of traditional male power was also taken outside the home and family relationships into other institutions, political groups, government, and the workplace.

As more and more women moved into and stayed in the paid workforce – an increasing percentage of them wives and mothers – they were faced with a gendered division of labour and sex-role stereotyping that led to  challenges over the working conditions and wages for women, equal pay and employment equity. For working mothers, quality, affordable child care emerged as the keystone to women’s independence.

This section will include a variety of material related to organizing around some various issues directly related to the family and the fight for women’s equality that aren’t easily covered in other sections and are not directly related to a specific organization. These include issues such as women and poverty, pensions, income security, family allowances, family law (marriage and divorce), child custody, personal social services, income transfers, tax policy, personal social services, as well as maternity and parental leave policy.

Issues of recognition and equality for LGBTQ+ families and relationships are also archived with the organizations most directly involved in those fights, such as the Lesbian Mothers Defence Fund, and are otherwise linked to this section.

Issues related to Family Policy Documents

Title Date Region
Parental Leave Policies, Monica Townson 1985 1985 National (all of Canada)
Tying the Knot, June Callwood and Martin Zuker, 1972 1972

Related Issues and Actions Pages

Labour Movement and Women’s Equality

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