A report published by the Canadian Women’s Foundation this week provides new insight into the state of gender equality in Canada.
Women’s Equality in Canada: An Environmental Scan is designed to inform the work of the Gender Equality Network Canada, a national women’s collaboration that is working on a national action plan for gender equality. The network was launched last year with funding from Status of Women Canada and is convened by the Canadian Women’s Foundation.
“Despite progress and momentum towards gender equality, women have not achieved equality in Canada. Whether measuring women’s equality or women’s equity; women’s well-being or specific outcomes in employment, health, education; there are women in Canada who continue to face significant challenges and systemic inequality.”
The report tracks how gender equality in Canada experienced serious setbacks during a 10-year period when government support for equality was withdrawn. Despite this, grassroots women’s organizations continued to organize, collaborate, advocate, and take legal action to advance gender equality. Women played key roles in creating some of the most important social movements of the last few years, including Idle No More, Black Lives Matter, and #MeToo. Because of their ongoing activism, women’s organizations are now well-positioned to leverage the new federal commitment to equality, reflected in recent funding and policy decisions.
The Gender Equality Network Canada will take collective action on the most urgent issues facing women and girls in Canada, including violence, poverty and economic security, and issues for Indigenous women. It will work from an intersectional framework, which recognizes that women aren’t just women—they also have multiple other identities such as race, religion, class, ability, sexual orientation, language, income, and more. As a result, they can experience multiple forms of discrimination and deeper inequality.
“An intersectional approach reveals no area that has unequivocally improved for all women. Deeper analysis reveals that for some women – Indigenous, Black, and other racialized women, immigrant women, women with disabilities and women in remote areas – improvements have been marginal or insignificant.”
By convening and supporting women leaders from across the country to come together with a clear mandate, the Gender Equality Network Canada will be a powerful catalyst to make intersectional gender equality a reality in Canada.
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