OTTAWA – The theme of the 2020 International Women’s Day is Each for Equal – an equal world is an enabled world. While progress has been made on gender equality in Canada, there is still much work to be done to achieve global gender parity. The United Nations refers to gender parity as the: “unfinished business of our time”.
“We welcome the Liberal government’s recent transformation of the Status of Women Canada agency into the Department for Women and Gender Equality,” said Green Party Interim Leader Jo-Ann Roberts. “Under Minister Maryam Monsef, this department will now have an expanded mandate for gender equality and will act as a coordinating body for gender issues within the Government of Canada. We‘re optimistic this move will advance gender parity in Canada and spur other countries to follow suit.”
Politics remains an area where women face the highest barriers to inclusion. The Green Party fielded 154 female candidates in the last federal election; two out of the three Green MPs elected are women and women ran in four of the seven ridings where the party came second. Ms. Roberts observed that these results demonstrate that the party is serious about nominating women in ridings where they can win. For 13 years, Elizabeth May was the only elected female leader of a federal political party in Canada.
“Elizabeth has been and continues to be a powerful role model for young women, especially those considering politics or taking on any type of leadership role,” said Ms. Roberts. “There are definitely challenges facing women who choose to enter public life, including misogynistic bias and personal attacks. However, as more and more women join the national conversation, progress towards a more gender balanced society will accelerate.”
The final recommendations from the National Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) stated that all Canadians have a role to play in ending MMIWG genocide. The inquiry established a link between resource extraction and violence against women, girls and LGBTQ and two-spirited people.
“We must be vigilant in ensuring that the recommendations from the MMIWG Inquiry are implemented,” said Green parliamentary leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). “There are still far too many Indigenous women living in harm’s way. Increasing the availability of safe modes of transportation in rural areas would be a step in the right direction. We also need to implement stricter safety measures around large mining operations. ‘Man-camp’ environments can result in heightened alcohol and drug-related incidents which in turn lead to increased gender-based violence. We must protect vulnerable women and girls.”
Green MP, Jenica Atwin (Fredericton) is the Green Caucus critic for Women and Gender Equality. “It was exciting to be part of the largest group of elected women in Canadian history and to be the first woman elected from my riding. It was also eye opening as these statistics highlight the continuing barriers that women in politics face. It is also critical for me to acknowledge that barriers facing women are exacerbated for women of colour.” said Atwin. “Women of all backgrounds must be supported, encouraged and provided with the resources they need to overcome gender barriers. On international Women’s day let us stand together in solidarity to advance women’s rights globally.”
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