The wage gap between men and women isn’t actually 20 per cent, according to Gabrielle Bouchard, new president of the Quebec Women’s Federation (FFQ).
“Marginalized women will tell us it’s not 20 per cent, it’s 40 per cent,” she told Global News.
She explains women who come from a marginalized background — have it be because of race, finance or sexual orientation — face more inequality when it comes to opportunity than who she calls “white male” classed women.
“As women’s rights advocates, we have to listen to the 40 per cent because when we defend the 40 per cent, everyone will win,” she told Global News.
She points out there is a huge difference when it comes to how marginalized women are treated in both their personal and professional lives.
“If we don’t listen to people’s experiences and we don’t listen to experiences from the margin, or from the most marginalized, then we’re missing the boat and we’re leaving people behind,” she argued.
As a trans woman, Bouchard says she understands firsthand the meaning of marginalization.
After being elected president of the FFQ, Bouchard faced harsh criticism from people wondering if she is knowledgeable enough about the female experience to lead the province’s main women’s rights organization.
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“In a way, in our movement, we replicate the same patterns that we challenge out there. A woman in the workforce has to be enough, has to be better just to be equal,” she pointed out.
She insists her mandate will focus on turning the conversation around to incite real change.
“There is a need to have a conversation around equality, women’s equality, equality for all women and equality between women,” she insisted.
“That’s something I have at heart and it’s something I want to work towards.”
The biggest challenge? Funding from the provincial and federal governments, says Bouchard.
“We do not have any funding to be able to do our core mission, to do what we were born to do as an organization,” she said.
The Quebec Women’s Federation represents about 300 organizations across the province.