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Gender Equality in Canada

Gender Equality in Canada

  1. Introduction

The reference lists used in the research are primarily focused on recent studies into gender equality in Canada, which reflects that the research is taking into account the most up-to-date views on this subject. This is a strength of the research overall because it is using current evidence to address current issues in gender equality.

The introduction may be classed as quite a factual part of the research, in that it is providing an overview of what the reader can expect to learn from the research and providing definitions for key terms. However, many elements of the introduction, such as the historical context, may be seen as quite subjective. For example, one line reads “the road towards substantive gender equality in Canada remains long and filled with obstacles”. This could be argued to be the opinion of the writer, and the line suggests that female empowerment has not yet been achieved. However, as will be seen throughout the research, there is evidential support for the statements given so far in the introduction to the table of contents.

The introduction to the table of contents is quite comprehensive as it provides key terms that are addressed throughout the research. For example, it explains what the Canadian Human Rights Act is and the various gender disparities that are covered later on in the research, such as gender in employment and gender in leadership. The introduction also provides some key federal statutes and policies introduced in Canada that promote and protect gender equality. As a result, the reader is able to understand some of the key legal documents and landmark cases that are mentioned throughout the research.

Gender equality is a fundamental human right. The table of contents provides an in-depth research on gender equality in Canada. The research begins with an introductory overview of gender equality, explaining its importance and the different categories of gender equality in Canada, such as legal and policy. The research also provides a historical and sociological context, showing how gender equality has evolved over time in Canada. This gives a foundation into how the gender roles and societal norms have changed over time and how slow but steady progress has been made in terms of achieving gender equality.

1.1 Overview of Gender Equality

The rest of this document will discuss specific and detailed gender issues in different areas in Canada, and special attention will be drawn to certain under-researched fields such as gender equality in sports and interdisciplinary objectives. This document aims to provide an understanding of the effects of Canadian legislation, as well as the implications of human rights and law in establishing gender equality in Canada today.

Moreover, gender equality is not just a women’s issue, but rather an issue of human rights, which “including the rights of women and girls and the rights of all persons regardless of their gender” (Department of Justice, 2020). Addressing the issue of gender equality should involve actions and engagement from all genders. There is evidence to show that achieving gender equality benefits everyone – not only women, but men, boys and those with non-binary gender identities. This is because when people are treated on the basis of equality, it contributes to the chance of living a fulfilling life and a better quality of life for everyone. Gains in women’s rights result in stronger families, improved public health and increase in economic prosperity, as well as a more stable and peaceful world – “these impacts are not just borne by women and girls, but by entire communities and nations” (United Nations, 2017).

Over the years, noticeable progress has been made in Canada. For instance, women’s participation in the labour force has increased significantly from about 28% in 1950 to nearly 61% in 2016 (Statistics Canada, 2017). In recent decades, this progress has been extended “towards achieving full gender equality in political and public life of women in many countries, including in Canada” (United Nations, 2017). However, it’s important to not be complacent, despite having achieved a high level of gender equality comparing to many other countries around the world, gender disparity still exists in various dimensions of Canadian society, especially in areas such as work and politics. This suggests that there are still underlying issues regarding gender equality in Canada.

Gender equality is a fundamental principle of Canadian society. It “involves the promotion of the equality of all, regardless of gender, and the subsequent actions to change the structures and attitudes that perpetuate gender inequality” (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2008). This definition is consistent with the Canadian Human Rights Act, which considers the promotion of gender equality as a primary goal. The Act “prohibits discrimination based on sex, gender identity and gender expression, and aims to support the equal participation of women in the political, social and economic life of Canada” (Department of Justice, 2020). By promoting gender equality, Canada becomes a more inclusive and democratic society, where everyone potentially benefits from social, economic and political successes.

1.2 Importance of Gender Equality in Canada

As stated by the United Nations Development Program, gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. Promoting gender equality is also a critical aspect of reducing poverty. In Canada, studies show that women are still disproportionately affected by poverty. The 2011 National Household Survey indicates that 13.9% of women over 18 in Canada live in poverty, compared to 11.2% of men. And, incredibly, when we break down those numbers by visible minority status, 20% of women who are visible minority immigrants live in poverty. I argue that the Canadian government must consider the cultural and temporal contexts of the Canadian population. In the past, the feminist efforts to bring about gender equality in Canada have been supported by international documents such as the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. However, as Natalya Din-Kariuki writes in her book “Canadian Women and the Struggle for Equality”, “the most widely known and comprehensive international statement of women’s rights” is the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. This was born from the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995. One of the major threads running through the document was a call to end the persistence of violence against women, no matter where it occurs and in “whatever form it takes”. The Declaration also specifically identified the environment, the economy and health as areas in which women’s rights are in peril. Hence, according to Din-Kariuki, the Beijing Declaration recognizes that women’s rights and gender equality are not just a matter of concern for women as a special interest group, but as a matter of fundamental human rights and a concern for the whole society. She points out that the Declaration also highlights and acknowledges that women’s struggles for equality and human rights are not confined to any particular region or tradition, as it represents “a call to integrated action on behalf of women”. The use of the word “call” indicates a need for action from all sections of society; gender equality is something that needs to be worked at collectively.

1.3 Historical Context of Gender Equality in Canada

Section “1.3 Historical Context of Gender Equality in Canada” discusses how “modern Canadian gender equality objectives must be placed in the context of a continuous and evolving series of social movements and societal expectations”. The section started with a brief history of suffrage rights in Canada. In 1916, Manitoba became the first province to grant women the right to vote in provincial elections. The remaining prairie provinces followed suit in 1917, 1918, and 1918. Ontario and Nova Scotia extended the vote to women in 1917, British Columbia and New Brunswick in 1918, and Quebec trailed over a decade later in 1940. The Federal government granted limited Indian status and a vote to First Nations women and veterans in 1917. After World War II, the global campaign for women’s rights began to have an impact in Canada. In 1946, Canadian women, for the first time, were entitled to at least the same rights as men, both in civil law and in the Quebec Charter of rights and freedoms. The Feminist movements began to establish common cause with the broader labour and social movements of the 1960s and 1970s. By 1981, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was enacted and Section 28 of the Charter provided a solid platform for advancing gender equality by stipulating that rights and freedoms enshrined in the Charter should be equally extended to both men and women. At the Federal level, the Liberal government of Jean Chretien, in the early 1990s, made several major legislative changes which clearly enacted the Federal government’s commitment to gender equality. Decades of unrelenting pressure, debate, lobbying, and public education by feminist groups have resulted in substantive changes in how Canadian society addresses gender equality agendas and issues. The sections conclude with an observation that the complexities of gender and multiple variables such as income level, economic status, disabilities, age, and cultural differences also have profound impacts on how gender issues may be expressed or challenged. In Canada today, all such challenges demand informed and constructive dialogues and actions.

  1. Legislation and Policies

2.1 Canadian Human Rights Act

2.2 Gender Equality in Employment

2.3 Gender Equality in Education

2.4 Gender Equality in Politics

  1. Gender Pay Gap

3.1 Causes of the Gender Pay Gap

3.2 Impact of the Gender Pay Gap on Women

3.3 Efforts to Address the Gender Pay Gap

  1. Violence Against Women

4.1 Forms of Violence Against Women

4.2 Domestic Violence

4.3 Sexual Assault

4.4 Measures to Combat Violence Against Women

  1. Women’s Representation in Leadership

5.1 Women in Corporate Leadership

5.2 Women in Political Leadership

5.3 Challenges and Barriers for Women in Leadership

  1. Gender Equality in Healthcare

6.1 Access to Reproductive Health Services

6.2 Gender Bias in Medical Research and Treatment

6.3 Mental Health and Gender Equality

  1. Gender Equality in Sports

7.1 Gender Disparity in Sports Funding

7.2 Representation of Women in Sports Media

7.3 Challenges Faced by Female Athletes

  1. Intersectionality and Gender Equality

8.1 Intersectionality and its Impact on Gender Equality

8.2 Indigenous Women and Gender Equality

8.3 Gender Equality for LGBTQ+ Individuals

  1. Gender Equality in Education

9.1 Gender Stereotypes in Education

9.2 Gender Disparity in STEM Education

9.3 Strategies to Promote Gender Equality in Education

  1. Conclusion

Gender Equality in Canada

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