70 civil wars. 68.5 million people displaced. 730 million in extreme poverty. One person driven from their home every two seconds. For too many people around the world, life is characterized by unimaginable hardship, vulnerability and insecurity. Humanitarian crises are hard for everyone, though particularly difficult for women and girls. They face increased risk of violence, exhausting workloads to ensure their families survive and lack full control over decisions that affect the trajectories of their lives.
Evidence shows a strong link between gender equality and peace. Countries where women are empowered are vastly more secure. Helping women realize their rights in fragile countries helps prevent conflict and increases the likelihood of sustainable peace.
This paper examines the challenges women and girls face in conflict settings and recommends concrete actions that the Canadian government can take to empower women in conflict. Canada, with its feminist agenda—including its Feminist International Assistance Policy—has made a bold commitment to gender equality.
Canada is well-positioned to make a strong contribution to world peace by tackling gender inequality before, during and after conflicts. To do this, the government must continue to transform the way it delivers humanitarian assistance—and adopt a coherent feminist foreign policy.