COVID-19: How Your Support Helps Women and Girls During the Pandemic

Discussing our Feminist Futures with Elizabeth Renzetti

Journalist Elizabeth Renzetti

In a recent Facebook Live chat, we caught up with Elizabeth Renzetti, Globe & Mail columnist, author, and the winner of the 2020 Landsberg Award.

The Landsberg Award is presented annually by the Canadian Journalism Foundation in association with the Canadian Women’s Foundation. It celebrates a journalist who is raising awareness about women’s equality issues in Canada and aims to inspire an increase in the media coverage and voice of women in Canada.

Elizabeth won the award for her writing on gender equality, ranging in topic from violence against women, to gender-biased design in space, to the dearth of women in political leadership.

In the chat, she shared her insights and expertise on various issues of gender equality, including:

• Lessons learned from women’s leadership during the pandemic:

Women leaders are playing a visible and powerful role in Canada’s response to COVID-19, and many are bringing a stronger gender lens to their work. As Elizabeth noted: “It seems to me there’s a collaborative method of achieving success in really difficult times that might be something that women politicians are particularly good at.”

• What Canada can do to prevent and end gender-based violence:

Through her reporting, Elizabeth has discussed a wide range of prevention and safety recommendations with violence-prevention advocates and activists. The strategies are out there, she says, but it’s up to Canada to listen and implement them. She also discussed how one of the ways we can all play a role is in our socialization and education of young people.

“We’ve been very good at giving our girls, our young women, what are traditionally considered male attributes … but we have not been very good at encouraging young men to embrace the qualities that we consider to be traditionally female.”

• The gendered impacts of the pandemic on women and gender equality:

The pandemic is exposing how our society undervalues caregiving, whether it’s for children or seniors, Elizabeth says, and this could play a positive role in shifting Canada’s future economic policies.

“I hope there will be a sea change after this, and I’ve written about the idea of using well-being budgets … as a measure of a country’s progress, as opposed to GDP. Interestingly, the countries that are at the forefront of this process are countries run by women – Iceland, Scotland, New Zealand are all countries that have incorporated a well-being lens into their budgets.”

Watch the full conversation below to hear many other insights, as well as Elizabeth’s thoughts about The Bachelor, gelato, and her advice to young women graduates this year.

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