Oxfam Canada response to Prime Minister Trudeau’s address at the United Nations General Assembly

Money and resettlement alone will not resolve this crisis. The global refugee crisis, which has so many negative impacts on the rights of women and girls, needs a feminist solution.

September 20, 2016

In response to Prime Minister Trudeau’s address at the United Nations General Assembly, Oxfam Canada’s Director of Policy, Lauren Ravon, said:    

"We are proud to see Prime Minister Trudeau taking a leadership role on the international stage. Canada’s  welcoming of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees should be applauded and we hope it will inspire other rich nations to open their doors. We also welcome the increase in humanitarian assistance announced by the Prime Minister at the UN summit on refugees and migration.

"But we know that money and resettlement alone will not resolve this crisis. The global refugee crisis, which has so many negative impacts on the rights of women and girls, needs a feminist solution.

"The government has pledged to apply a feminist lens to Canada’s international assistance, but its commitments at the UNGA have so far fallen short of that ambition.  We look forward to seeing Prime Minister Trudeau seize future opportunities to champion a feminist approach to emergency response, including ensuring the meaningful participation of women in the negotiations for the Global Compacts."

Speaking to Prime Minister Trudeau’s comments on inequality, Ravon said: "We are glad to see that Prime Minister Trudeau is committed to building a world that works for the many, and not just the few.

"We know that it is women who feel the impact of rising inequality most. Women make up the majority of the world’s low-paid workers and are concentrated in the most precarious jobs. Because of the way our economy is designed, hardworking women and people in poverty aren’t feeling the benefits of economic growth – and they should.

"If Canada is serious about tackling inequality at home, it needs to put women’s rights at the center of economic development. This means supporting policies that create better wages and access to employment for women, and more investment in public services that help relieve women from the burden of unpaid work such as child care.

"If Canada is serious about tackling inequalities in the poorest countries, we also need to ensure that at least 20% of our aid budget goes to programs that advance gender equality and women’s empowerment, and that aid dollars actually make their way to grassroots women’s organizations. Decades of experience shows that women's rights are central to the fight against poverty, and that when women are in the driver’s seat they can bring about meaningful change for all."      

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For interview requests:
Melanie Gallant
613-240-3047
melanie.gallant@oxfam.ca