As a world gathering on gender equality opens, the Equality Fund welcomes Canada’s continued leadership on building feminist futures
OTTAWA, June 30, 2021 — The Equality Fund welcomed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement of Canada’s commitment of $100 million in new international assistance to support paid and unpaid care work. The Prime Minister also announced an additional nearly $80 million in global funding for women and girls. The announcement came during the opening ceremony of the Generation Equality Forum, a global gathering for gender equality convened by UN Women and the governments of Mexico and France, in partnership with youth leaders and global civil society organizations.
It represents a substantial Canadian contribution to global efforts to accelerate change on women’s rights and gender equality.
“Gender equality anywhere depends on strong feminist movements everywhere. Around the world, feminist movements are driving change toward a more peaceful, just, equitable, and sustainable future,” said Jess Tomlin, Co-CEO of the Equality Fund. “We welcome Canada’s continued leadership on gender equality and its explicit commitment to the advancement of a feminist future for all.”
The Government of Canada has taken significant steps to advance feminist solutions at home and globally. Budget 2021 included an historic commitment to advance a national early learning and childcare plan, responding to decades of activism by Canadian feminists. The Feminist International Assistance Policy—released in 2017—placed gender equality at the centre of Canada’s overseas development assistance investments. Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, has committed to releasing a policy document outlining Canada’s feminist foreign policy.
Today’s announcement builds on and advances this agenda. And it comes as COVID-19 brings new threats to fragile progress on global gender equality.
“In this critical moment, Canada’s leadership is timely, urgent, and welcomed around the world,” noted Tomlin. “Globally we see many challenges to the rights of women, girls, and non-binary people, with women shouldering the lion’s share of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. They have lost more jobs, done more unpaid work, had less access to decision-making circles, and experienced more violence. We’re also seeing organized attempts to push back against advances for women and LGBTQ people.”
When the Forum ends on July 2nd, feminist activists around the world will watch to see if global actions and investments match rhetoric. “The Generation Equality Forum is the opportunity of a lifetime—a collective chance to pivot toward a future of equality and sustainability,” said Tomlin. “The critical difference will be whether feminists are our designers and drivers going forward. If this is successful, we can fundamentally alter the trajectory for the next 25 years.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new attention to the ‘care’ economy and the gender imbalances in both paid and unpaid care work. A report last year by UN Women found that, although unpaid workloads have increased for everyone, women are bearing more of the burden than men. As well, women dominate in the paid care sector (including frontline healthcare workers, childcare providers, and eldercare workers), jobs that are often precarious and poorly paid. Feminist COVID-19 recovery plans often place these investments at their centre.
The Generation Equality Forum is a global gathering of governments, feminist activists, philanthropic organizations, multilateral organizations, and the private sector to galvanize new commitments—and action—toward a gender-equal future.
About the Equality Fund
The Equality Fund is a new model for sustainable investment in global feminist movements. Leveraging an unprecedented contribution of CAD 300 million from the Government of Canada, it unites gender-lens investing, bold government funding, and powerful, multi-sector philanthropy to unlock new capital for women’s rights organizations and movements. With collaboration from leaders in every sector, the Equality Fund expects to activate over CAD 1 billion for gender equality, making it the largest self-sustaining fund for gender equality in the world.
Head of Strategic Communications, Equality Fund