Beyond the Niqab: 8 Ways You Can Improve Women’s Equality in Canada

Do you think it’s unacceptable to deny women citizenship because of what they wear? Do you think the endless debates about women’s clothing are a distraction from the real issues we should be talking about this election season and every day?

If you answered yes, you are part of a large, strong, and diverse community of people who are rejecting the current politicking of hate and fear. Besides opposing the niqab ban, here are 8 other ways you can support veil-wearing and other marginalized women in Canada:

  1. Condemn Bill C-51, the so-called “Anti-Terrorism Act,” which expands and entrenches the targeted surveillance of Aboriginal, Black, and Muslim communities in Canada.
  2. Condemn Bill C-24, which makes citizenship harder to get and easier to lose by, among other things, creating second-class citizenship for racialized people, who can now be deported even if they were born in Canada and have citizenship nowhere else.
  3. Condemn Bill S-7, the so-called “Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act,” and its associated tip line, which willfully and misleadingly stereotype Muslim and migrant communities as uniquely prone to violence against women.
  4. Condemn police racial profiling, which disproportionately targets Black and other racialized communities in Canada.
  5. Demand Canada accept more refugees, when over 3,000 have already died this year alone.
  6. Demand Canada investigate and end the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, of whom there are thousands, to say nothing of the countless Indigenous people killed and scarred by residential schools, disproportionate incarceration, and systemic dispossession.
  7. In light of Canada’s increasing rates of poverty, demand the expansion of social services, including a reversal of cuts to health care.
  8. Demand more protections for low-income workers, including a minimum wage that does not condemn workers to working-poor poverty.

Poverty, surveillance, and the heightened threat of death and deportation are only a few of the dangers faced every day by marginalized women, including Muslim women, in Canada. CAMWL is heartened that so many people have rejected the Islamophobia, fear-mongering, and scapegoating that have characterized the government’s response to Zunera Ishaq’s challenge of the niqab ban. We know that the crackdown on her religious and civil liberties is grounded in a broader failure to uphold women’s equality and justice. We invite you to join us in the ongoing struggle for meaningful access to justice for women in Canada.