Oxfam Echoes UN Call for Canadian Leadership on Women’s Rights

July 24, 2015

Oxfam supports the UN’s call for greater Canadian leadership on women and girls rights. Canada was recently reviewed by the UN Human Rights Committee, which released a report July 23 highlighting improvements needed on gender equality, aboriginal rights, and freedom of expression, among other issues.

The Director of Oxfam Canada’s Centre for Gender Justice, Caroline Marrs, says: “Through decades of experience in more than 90 countries, Oxfam has learned that gender equality is key to creating equitable, prosperous and safe societies. Much more investment is needed in women’s organizations that are on the frontlines addressing the concerns raised in this report.”

The UN report takes aim at the wage gap between men and women across the country. In Canada, women continue to earn 20% less than their male peers for the same full-time work and are more likely to be poor.

The report also urges Canada to enhance its efforts to combat violence against women. In particular, it highlights the issue of murdered and missing indigenous women and recommends that Canada conduct a national inquiry, in consultation with indigenous women’s organizations and families of the victims.

“There are still over a thousand unsolved cases of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls”, says Marrs, “but the government refuses to call a national public inquiry and address the entrenched reasons behind the violence that aboriginal women face.”

Women’s economic inequality and violence against women are issues both in Canada and internationally. Around the world, women face economic exclusion. Violence against women is widespread and sexual violence continues to be used as a weapon in armed conflict. 14 million girls are married against their will every year before they turn 18. Women still only account for 9% of the police, 20% of parliamentarians and 27% of all judges worldwide. The struggle to realize equal rights for women and girls is far from over.

“Canada must show leadership both at home and abroad”, says Marrs. “This is why Oxfam has joined Up For Debate, an alliance of over 175 organizations calling for an electoral debate on the issues that affect women’s lives. We are looking for measureable commitments to show that our political leaders understand the needs and realities of women. The fact that Canada’s record on gender equality is coming up at the UN is proof that we need this public conversation”.  

“In Canada, we are in a moment of heightened attention to important choices about the kind of society we live in and how we will make it more equal. The analysis is there. The investment is waiting to be made by our leaders. Women and girls in particular have waited too long already.”

For more information:
Scott Patterson
Manager, Marketing, Communications & Outreach
Oxfam Canada

Complete report here:

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