Whither Gender Equality in Canada

Hatred of women creeping into public debate, Trudeau tells equality conference. Women Deliver is a global advocate for gender equality and the health, rights and well-being of girls and women. The four-day conference is billed as the world’s largest event advocating for those rights.

The conference was attended by world leaders, including the presidents of Kenya, Ghana and Ethiopia, who joined Trudeau for a panel discussion following his speech.

Panel moderator Lyse Doucet, a BBC journalist, commended Trudeau for being one of the first world leaders to describe himself as a “feminist” and bring in a gender-equal cabinet.

But she noted he had a “tough year,” given that he brought “tough women” into his cabinet, and asked how it had affected his feminism.

Former cabinet ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott were kicked out of the Liberal caucus this year after they alleged the Prime Minister’s Office had pushed for Quebec engineering firm SNC-Lavalin to avoid a criminal trial.

Trudeau said the experience has increased his feminism and made him think differently about it.

“Feminism and diversity and inclusion is not about making things easier. It often makes things a little more difficult,” he said. “To have strong voices sticking up for different perspectives means you’re going to get challenged, means you get 

At the ongoing Women Deliver 2019 Conference in Vancouver, Canada, the buzzword is clearly “Pushback”. Women Deliver CEO Katja Iversen mentioned the word during the pre-opening press briefing. She was seconded on this by none other than Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the opening ceremony who extolled the attending delegates to stand strong. Before that, his minister for women and gender equality, Maryam Monsef, asserted that Canada is strengthening investments in gender equality and pointed to the country’s Feminist International Assistance Policy and its committed CAD330 million funding towards international grassroots associations.

So what is all this pushback against? The answer is, although no one is saying this explicitly, the US’s Mexico City Policy. The latter was reinforced by the Donald Trump administration in 2017 and blocks US federal funding to international NGOs that promote, facilitate or advise on abortion. In fact, Washington recently expanded the Mexico City Policy, closing off loopholes that would allow NGOs to still receive US funding while decidedly having a pro-choice profile.

Against this backdrop, the Women Deliver Conference is an attempt to drum up support and strengthen collaborations to keep the women’s empowerment and gender justice movement going. And Canada under Trudeau has committed to promoting gender equality in all spheres of life, going against the global headwinds emanating from its neighbouring country. In fact, what Canada and Women Deliver are doing is truly commendable. After all, this is not about political ideologies. This is about evidence-based empowerment and natural justice. Keeping 50 per cent of humanity shackled through patriarchal mores is simply wrong when those women can add to global productivity, add trillions of dollars to the global economy and create a better world for everybody. And it is only fair that women have the same opportunities as men to realise their full potential.

Access to safe, legal abortion fundamentally empowers women by taking away the Damocles Sword hanging over their heads. This, in turn, empowers them to make life choices that impact society through multiple positive ways. And that, in turn, ensures everybody in society wins, including men. In other words, making abortion accessible to women also improves the lives of men. Therefore, seen in this context, gender justice and equality is everyone’s business, not just women’s or Canada’s. As the world goes through a complicated evolutionary phase, it is time to create equal opportunities for women so that they can help us steer through the choppy waters.

Gender equality is under attack and, in the age of social media, it’s never been easier to taunt and spread abhorrent views, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a global conference on the issue Monday.

The Trump administration has also reinstated a policy known as the “global gag rule,” which bans U.S. federal funding for non-governmental organizations abroad that provide abortion services. Shortly after the U.S. adopted the rule in 2017, the Trudeau government committed $650 million for sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide.

Trudeau said the history of women’s rights shows that every step forward is met by another push back, and women are still routinely facing misogyny, racism and hatred.

He said politicians are “shamefully” campaigning to undo women’s hard-won victories.

“That’s a daunting reality to face. My friends, we are not powerless. It’s up to us to fight back,” he said.

He also spoke to the crowd about the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, saying Canada can and must do better to end violence against all women.

His remarks were interrupted by a woman in the crowd who cried out, “Then do something!”

Another yelled, “Shame!”. 

“Let me be clear, our government will always be your partner, willing to admit when mistakes are made and working very hard to build a better future for all our children,” Trudeau said.

“My friends, I know and you know that we can’t take our foot off the pedal, not even for a moment. There’s simply too much at stake. Canada’s leadership isn’t going anywhere.”

But the contradiction- Is abortion not taking life? Must government and society – when contraceptives are available encourage this killing,

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