(Ottawa) –The federal government’s progress in delivering on its bold feminist commitments has been uneven over the past year and, despite some historic policy changes, falls particularly short in areas rooted in the economy, climate, and Indigenous women’s rights, according to a new report from Oxfam Canada.
On the heels of International Women’s Day, Oxfam Canada’s fourth annual Feminist Scorecard, Bolstering Feminist Action to Tackle Inequality and Injustice, grades the federal government on its progress between March 2019 and February 2020 in 10 policy areas. Two new policy areas, reducing poverty for the most marginalized women and upholding the rights of Indigenous women, were added to the scorecard this year. Oxfam uses a traffic light approach (red, yellow and green), indicating very little, some, or significant progress.
Three categories received a green rating this year: women’s leadership and representation, global leadership on women’s rights and reducing poverty for the most marginalized women.
“Under this government, we’ve seen historic investments in sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as in women’s rights organizations and feminist movements worldwide. The appointment of Canada’s first Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security, the launch of the Feminist Humanitarian Assistance Policy and the recommitment to a gender-balanced cabinet are all important steps to advance women’s rights and gender equality in Canada and around the world,” said Diana Sarosi, Oxfam Canada’s interim Director of Policy and Campaigns.
However, four key policy areas moved to red: upholding the rights of Indigenous women; tackling climate change and regulating the extractive industries; building a progressive tax system; and addressing the unequal economics of women’s work.
“There have been too few tangible policy and spending decisions in these four areas to meaningfully move the needle on gender equality and transform our sexist economy,” Sarosi said.
“The economy remains stacked against women, who earn less than men, work in the most precarious sectors and struggle to balance work and care responsibilities. Economic inequality, gender inequality and climate change are interrelated challenges that reinforce each other. The government must address these in tandem, and do so urgently in the face of a growing climate crisis.”
The scorecard details how improvements in a number of policy areas are needed for women to truly succeed in the global economy, including care work, responding to humanitarian crises and ending gender-based violence.
“This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. As world leaders gather to assess and accelerate progress on gender equality, Canada has the opportunity to shine on the world stage by making significant gender equality commitments and investments that simultaneously address the biggest challenges faced by humanity — extreme inequality, the climate crisis, displacement and conflict. Canadian women, and women of the world, are counting on Canada as their steadfast advocate and ally in pressing for progress and ensuring a more equal, inclusive and sustainable world,” Sarosi said.
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Notes to Editors:
- 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 measures the extent to which decisions advance gender equality.
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