Gender Equality Week – Statement by the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada

September 22, 2019

Today, the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau, issued the following statement on the start of Gender Equality Week:

Gender equality benefits all of us. When everyone has a fair and equal chance to succeed, we all do better – whether it’s building peace, fighting the climate crisis, or growing economies that work for everyone. We all have a role to play to make that a reality, and Gender Equality Week is a chance to move forward.

Just this past week, we announced that a re-elected Liberal government will create hundreds of thousands of new before and after school care spaces, nearly double federal spending on child care, and move forward to deliver guaranteed paid family leave for every new parent in Canada. Because child care still falls disproportionately to women, these measures represent an important step forward for gender equality and will make a difference for families across Canada.

Our Liberal government has put gender equality at the heart of our work since day one. Over the last four years, we took historic steps to advance the rights of women, girls, and people of all gender identities. We passed unprecedented pay equity legislation, and legislation that added gender identity and expression as a protected ground in the Canada Human Rights Act. We took action to promote women’s leadership on boards and in the C-suite, and boosted support for women entrepreneurs with a plan to double the number of women entrepreneurs by 2025. We also created the first ever federal Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence, and with our National Housing Strategy, we’ve created more than 7,000 shelter spaces for survivors of family violence, and are making sure women, their families and their kids have access to safe, affordable housing.

Beyond our borders, we launched Canada’s first Feminist International Assistance Policy, which puts the empowerment, education, and health of women and girls at the centre of all our development assistance. We created the first ever Gender Equality Advisory Council to the G7 – and thanks to their leadership, we delivered a historic investment in education for women and girls in conflict and crisis situations. This summer, we also announced an unprecedented investment to protect the sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girls everywhere, including universal access to family planning, contraception, comprehensive sexuality education, and access to safe and legal abortion and post-abortion care. Canada also co-chaired the Equal Rights Coalition, the first intergovernmental network formed to promote and protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people around the world.

But there is still so much more to do. Women’s rights and gender equality are under attack around the world, from the legitimization of gender-based violence, to the assault on a woman’s right to choose. Trans women, Indigenous women, racialized women, women with disabilities, low-income women, migrant and refugee women, and people of diverse gender identities still face unequal, unacceptable barriers. That has to change.

We’re going to take up that work, just as we’ve done so far. Even in Canada, while some politicians are intent on rolling back rights and cutting access to important services like health care and sexual assault centres, Gender Equality Week reminds us that we have the choice to keep moving forward. Let’s stand united, work together, and build a more equal Canada, and a better world for everyone.