Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada

The 1960s was a period of dramatic change and upheaval in Canada, as it was in most western nations. As the civil rights and peace movements gained momentum, so too did the second wave of the women's movement, bringing with it pressure to advance equality for women. The post-war boom had seen a growing number of women choosing higher education and paid employment over traditional roles, while others were demanding recognition for their work in the home and greater sharing of responsibilities between women and men.

The Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada was created in 1967 and given the mandate to "inquire into and report upon the status of women in Canada, and to recommend what steps might be taken by the federal government to ensure for women equal opportunities with men in all aspects of Canadian society."

The groundbreaking Report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada, tabled in Parliament on December 7, 1970, included recommendations on updating the legislative system and addressing such critical issues for women as poverty, family law, the Indian Actand the need for a federal representative for women.

The first Minister responsible for the Status of Women was appointed in 1971. Initially established within the Privy Council Office, Status of Women Canada became a departmental agency of the federal government in 1976.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which outlaws discrimination based on sex and a number of other grounds, was enacted as part of the Constitution Act in 1982.

The lives of Canadian women and girls have changed and improved dramatically since the days of theRoyal Commission, and while the need for improvement in some areas remains, evidence of critical progress abounds. Today Status of Women Canada continues to promote gender equality and works with its many partners to advance women's and girls' full participation in all aspects of Canadian life.

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