Federal action still falling short on gender equality: Oxfam Feminist Scorecard

March 8, 2023

(Ottawa) – Three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the deteriorating global situation – climate change, spiking food and energy price inflation and worsening conflict – has set progress towards achieving gender equality back by more than a generation globally. While the federal government’s feminist response put forward several worthy initiatives this past year, gaps still remain – particularly for the most marginalized women and gender-diverse people, according to a new report released by Oxfam Canada today.

On International Women’s Day, Oxfam Canada’s seventh annual Feminist Scorecard, Feminist Action In A World Of Crises, grades the federal government’s actions on its progress between March 2022 until February 2023 in 12 policy areas. Oxfam uses a traffic light approach (red, yellow and green), indicating little, some, or significant progress.

The government received a green rating indicating significant progress in three areas this year: investing in the care sector; upholding sexual and reproductive health and rights; and taking leadership on global development.

“The government had some important wins this past year with its ambitious child care agenda and historic public investment to provide affordable, inclusive and high-quality child care across Canada. And they also moved forward key initiatives that will benefit low-income women, racialized women, women with disabilities and 2SLGBTQ people. But gaps remain, particularly for the most marginalized women and gender-diverse people who have been sliding deeper into poverty as a result of the pandemic,” said Lauren Ravon, Oxfam Canada’s Executive Director.

One key policy area scored red this year – upholding the rights of Indigenous women. Over the past 12 months, the federal government has made little progress on addressing the inequalities and discrimination faced by First Nations, Métis and Inuit women, girls and Two-Spirit people.

“The cracks in our society and economy that were exposed by COVID-19 have now widened into fault lines, and the goal of eliminating inequality seems further out of reach. Women and gender-diverse people living in poverty, who have contributed least to these crises, are among the worst impacted. At the same time, levels of division, anger and hatred are growing globally. We are witnessing the rise of anti-rights movements – anti-women, anti-trans, anti-abortion, anti-feminist, anti-democratic – and attacks on women’s rights, 2SLGBTQ rights and gender equality,” Ravon said.

The scorecard also highlights a number of policy areas where more can be done to accelerate a feminist response and ensure the most marginalized do not fall through the cracks, including migrant and refugee rights; conflict and crisis; climate change; ending poverty; representation and leadership; gender-based violence; fair taxation and women’s work and labour rights.

“The world needs Canada’s feminist leadership in this time of global crises that are wreaking havoc on the world’s most vulnerable people. Now more than ever, we need the Canadian government to be ambitious and feminist – and we need a strong women’s rights movement to hold it accountable,” Ravon said.

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 Notes to the editor:
  • Oxfam Canada’s Feminist Scorecard is available for download here.
  • The scorecard does not rate the government’s overall performance in each policy area. It presents an assessment of actions between March 2022 and February 2023 that have, or have not, been taken by the government in these 12 policy areas to advance women’s rights and gender equality.
 For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Paula Baker
Media Relations
(613) 240-3047

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