New York, March 18, 2021
Bonjour, Aaniin, Salaam-Alaikum to my colleagues in the international community. I hope wherever you are, you are safe, you are well, and I wish the same for your loved ones.
COVID-19 is the most serious public health crisis that Canada has ever faced. It has laid bare fundamental gaps in our society and disproportionately impacted those who were already marginalized, vulnerable, or struggling.
Women have faced steep job losses, and many have bravely served on the front lines of this crisis in our community.
They’ve carried the burden of unpaid care work at home, and they’ve also seen and been impacted disproportionately by increases in rates of gender-based violence and violence against women.
This International Women’s Day, we saluted the women on the front lines of the fight against COVID. We continue to acknowledge all the ways that women, particularly racialized women, have been hardest hit by COVID.
Here in Canada, we are inviting applications to our $100 million dollar Feminist Response and Recovery Fund, and on women’s day, we began a virtual two-day summit focused on Canada’s feminist response and recovery.
Our government will continue to work with strong feminists to create one million jobs and to improve the health and safety outcomes for all women.
From the start, Canada’s response to the pandemic has been informed through a feminist, intersectional lens to ensure we support those who need it most.
In partnership with feminist grassroots organizations, we’ve been able to ensure that over fifteen hundred gender-based violence organizations across the country were able to keep their doors open, to keep their staff paid, as the most vulnerable women and children in our country seek their supports in their hour of need while escaping violence and abuse.
I also want to give special thanks to every single partner who, in those early days of the pandemic, picked up the phone, answered our texts, answered our questions about where we ought to focus. We could not have been able to lead with that intersectional gendered lens had it not been with our partnership with you. We will continue to rely on that partnership.
While addressing inequalities here in Canada, we recognize the need to support the global efforts as well.
My honourable colleague Karina Gould, our minister for International Development, and I are co-leading the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition of Feminist Movements and Leadership.
We’re investing more than $ 6 billion dollars in international assistance through our Feminist International Assistance Policy. And we look forward to the UN Commission on the Status of Women this year to learn more from what our colleagues around the world are doing to respond to COVID. To learn from you and look forward to the day when we can all come together at that very special place and never again take for granted our opportunities to do the mobilizing and the convening that those who have come before us have benefitted from.
Take good care, everyone. Be safe.
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development