OTTAWA— “Ladies” is good enough for Beyoncé but not for Canada’s Status of Women minister.
Whether the word is a quaint historical artifact or a politically incorrect relic best left behind is a debate now squarely before the Commons’ executive. That’s because Maryam Monsef, the minister charged with promoting gender equality, fired off a complaint to Speaker Geoff Regan after he recently recognized the presence of special guests in the “Ladies Gallery.”
Monsef, piqued by the archaic term, did some research on its origins, easily found on Britain’s parliamentary website, and formally wrote Regan on Thursday to drop it.
“As some women first received the right to vote in federal elections 100 years ago this year, I am certain that I am not the only one who finds the term Ladies’ Gallery, in 2017, to be outdated,” she said in a copy of the letter provided to the Star.
Monsef wrote that the term dates back to the British House of Commons “when a heavy metal grill covered windowed gallery was installed for wives and daughters of Members of Parliament to witness proceedings of the House.” She said it replaced a worse option then available only “to few women, which was to witness proceedings of the House through a ventilation shaft.”
Monsef, citing her mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said her job is “to promote equality between genders…