Women and girls have been disproportionately affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic, which threatens to roll back the hard-fought social and economic progress that they’ve made. The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring this doesn’t happen, both here at home and around the world, and recognizes that in order to truly build back better, we must create a Canada that works for everyone.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today participated in the opening ceremony of the Generation Equality Forum and announced nearly $180 million to advance gender equality around the world. The Forum is a global gathering on the topic of gender equality, which has been convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the governments of Mexico and France.
During the Forum, Prime Minister Trudeau underlined the concrete actions that Canada is taking to ensure women and girls can succeed in Canada and around the world. This includes a continued feminist response to the COVID-19 pandemic and recovering in a way that creates jobs and opportunity for women and girls, as well as efforts to prevent and eliminate gender-based violence, advance sexual and reproductive health and rights, and promote feminist movements, organizations, and voices.
At home, the government is taking steps to remove barriers that prevent women from fully participating in the workforce and our economy. Access to affordable and high quality childcare is one of those barriers, which is why we recently announced a plan to establish a Canada-wide early learning and child care system. This investment of up to $30 billion sets a goal of on average $10 a day child care, and will increase women’s participation in the work force and economic growth, as well as create jobs and make life more affordable for Canadian families.
To address inequalities in unpaid and paid care work internationally, the Prime Minister announced $100 million in new support for low- and middle-income countries that will help increase women’s ability to participate in the economy, in education, and in public life. Canada is one of the leading donors on care worldwide and, since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Trudeau has continued to draw attention to the unequal burden on women and girls, and to the importance of taking early action to address inequalities in the care economy.
The Prime Minister also announced nearly $80 million in new funding for women and girls through action coalitions at the Generation Equality Forum. This includes allocating $50 million from Canada’s $300 million pledge to the Global Partnership for Education, to address social and institutional barriers to girls’ education, and an additional $10 million in emergency support to the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage and promote the rights of girls. It also includes $18.45 million in funding for five targeted projects to address inequality and discrimination faced by LGBTQ2 communities, to support gender-lens investing, to strengthen civic education and democracy abroad, and advance gender equality in parliaments and legislatures.
The Prime Minister also reaffirmed Canada’s continued support for feminist and equality-seeking movements in Canada, especially those with a focus on underrepresented groups, including Indigenous women, women with disabilities, members of LGBTQ2 communities, and newcomer, racialized, and migrant women. Through existing programs, we are providing funding to organizations that support more than six million Canadians every year, and that are helping women recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic and address systemic issues facing underrepresented and vulnerable women.
Building on significant funding support for women’s rights and feminist organizations in developing countries, Canada will also support the co-creation of the Global Alliance for Sustainable Feminist Movements. This new partnership will create a new, dedicated space to address challenges that women and girls face towards achieving equality, including through funding and by enabling better planning among donors and feminist movements. Canada has been working in partnership with the Ford Foundation and the Equality Fund, as well as other governments, philanthropic entities and women’s organizations and funds, to co-design this alliance. The Prime Minister also announced that Canada will join the Global Alliance for Care, whose goal is to address the burden of care that hinders economic opportunities for women and to accelerate an economic recovery with equality in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canada is a leader and champion for gender equality, human rights, and the empowerment of women and girls at home and abroad. Advancing human rights and gender equality is not only fundamental to building back stronger and more resilient, it is also at the heart of Canada’s feminist international approach. By advancing gender equality, and empowering women and girls in all their diversity, we are helping to create a better, safer, and more inclusive world.