NEWS: NDP MPs fight for women’s rights on and off the slopes

New Democrats support female ski jumpers fight for equality

VANCOUVER - NDP Leader Jack Layton today denounced the decision made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to deny women the right to participate in ski jumping in the 2010 Olympics Games in Vancouver.

The NDP joins Canadians in denouncing the IOC’s decision to discriminate based on gender and deny women a chance to compete. Ski jumping is the only Olympic winter sport that still excludes women, under the rules of the IOC. The female members of the Canadian team have been training hard and want an equal opportunity to represent their country at the Olympics in this sport.

Layton was joined by NDP MP Irene Mathyssen (Critic for the Status of Women), Peter Julian (Critic for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics) and Wayne Marston (Human Rights Critic) in calling upon the federal government to denounce the IOC decision and do everything possible to reverse it. The NDP fully support the Human Rights complaint filed by the women’s team and is also calling on the government to allocate public funds so that both sexes can compete in this sport. Currently only male ski jumpers get funding from the government.

“It is disappointing to see that in the 21st century women must still fight for equality within an institution that claims to promote the principles of fairness, equality and Olympic ideals. This sends the wrong message to our young athletes and a negative image to the world,” declared Layton.

Canadians expect their government to show its commitment to women and women’s rights and equality by challenging this decision and providing equal funding for female ski jumpers.

The NDP has filed a complaint letter about this issue to the federal Minister of Sports.