Together, We Must Reset Normal

Gender Equality and Justice is the Key to Pandemic Recovery

When COVID-19 spread in Canada, it deepened inequalities for diverse women and Two Spirit, Trans, and non-binary people. As we rebuild from the pandemic, we can’t accept a “new normal” where people are worse off than before. Let’s reset normal by putting gender equality at the centre so everyone will thrive.

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Read Resetting Normal

Resetting Normal is a series of reports on gender equality and the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. The series explores risks to human rights exposed by the pandemic and proposes new ways to build a gender-equal Canada in pandemic recovery efforts.

Read the full report (English)

Read the full report (French)

As women experience higher rates of gender-based violence and financial precarity, organizations that serve them are at the leading edge of innovative and timely responses. But decades of underfunding have robbed organizations of the capacity to truly meet community needs for these essential services. The COVID-19 crisis is an opportunity to change this and forge ahead with new resources for the women’s sector.

Summary of Recommendations:

  • Provide core funding to women-serving organizations and equity-seeking organizations
  • Guarantee a gender-based analysis plus in policy-making; involve the women’s sector in decision-making at all levels of government
  • Ensure a gender-based analysis plus in data collection on the non-profit and charitable sector
  • Make gender-based analysis plus a requirement in transfer payments from the federal government to provinces and territories and in agreements with non-profits and charities

Co-authors: Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN), Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Kathleen Lahey

Contributor: Imagine Canada

Read the full report (English)
Read the full report (English)

Economic losses due to COVID-19 have fallen heavily on women, and most dramatically on women living on low incomes who experience intersecting inequalities based on race, class, disability, education, migration, and immigration status. The pandemic crisis has revealed the fragility of response systems and the urgent need for structural rethinking and systemic change.

An historic downturn in women’s employment, compounded by uncertainty over the capacity of the fragile and fragmented childcare sector to fully reopen, is shaping up as a potential disaster for women’s economic security.

Recovery planning provides an opportunity to eliminate gender bias in economic thinking and public policy that has neglected the value of social infrastructure, and instead promoted austerity and deregulation. Transformative policies that support both paid and unpaid caring labour will be crucial to stopping the looming erosion of women’s economic and social rights. Recovery plans must centre women’s economic well-being and the experiences of diverse and marginalized communities of women.

Summary of Recommendations:

  • Revitalize social infrastructure through care sector investments
  • Ensure care work is decent work
  • Focus public investments to transform care sectors, including long-term care, childcare, violence against women and gender-based violence services

Co-authors: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Ontario Nonprofit Network, and Fay Faraday

Read the full report

This report explores some of the historical and present-day root causes of gender-based violence and the effects of state violence on women, bringing forward the experiences of women who navigate state systems created within Canada’s settler colonial history.

Women are confronted with structural racism, sexism, heteronormativity, and ableism, and this report explores how to address these barriers. The implementation of the National Action Plan on Violence Against Women and Gender-Based Violence, along with grassroots prevention programs at all life stages, and a renewed relationship with policing, criminal and legal systems, will all help.

Summary of recommendations:

As a society, in our work, and in all the ways we address gender-based violence, we must seek:

  • Increased support for grassroots movements and women’s services
  • Greater acknowledgement from governments about the role of colonization in violence against women and gender-based violence.
  • Alternatives to the criminal legal system
  • We all have a role to play in ending systemic racism and discrimination by educating ourselves and promoting the strength, knowledge and expertise of BIPOC women.

Co-authors: Women’s Shelters Canada; Pauktuutit, Inuit Women of Canada; Anita Olsen Harper (NACAFV); Jihan Abbas (DAWN-RAFH Canada)

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Canada has celebrated women’s leadership in the pandemic. But diverse women, trans, Two-Spirit, and non-binary people still remain vastly underrepresented in leadership roles. Our latest Resetting Normal Report gives direction for policymakers to clear the path to representative and decision-making positions. Without the voices of Black, Indigenous, and racialized women and gender-diverse leaders, policy decisions will sustain systemic oppression and further marginalize underfunded, underserved communities. Diverse leaders are critical to a reset that can bring lasting pandemic recovery and gender justice.

Summary of Recommendations:

  • Strengthen the Social Determinants of Civic Engagement
  • Advance Women’s Representation in Leadership
  • Decolonize Leadership and Qualifications
  • Develop Leadership of Young Women, and Transgender and Two-Spirit People
  • Address Leadership and Decision-Making in COVID Recovery

Co-author: Platform, a civic leadership platform for Black, Indigenous, and racialized young women and gender-diverse youth

Contributor: Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM)

Use Your Voice

Send this letter to urge federal and provincial governments to put gender equality at the centre of post-pandemic rebuilding plans.

Listen to the Podcast

Tune into Alright, Now What?, the Canadian Women’s Foundation’s podcast, for engaging discussions with experts on pandemic recovery and issues of gender equality.

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