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It’s Time for Status of Women to Amplify Women’s Voices in Canada

Ottawa, Canada March 8, 2017

In honour of International Women’s Day, Policy4Women has released “Amplifying Women’s Voices”, which calls on Canadian governments to work together to once again support and make space for diverse women’s perspectives in policy, programming, and decision-making.

From the 1970s through to the early 2000s women made great strides in Canada, but in the last decade Status of Women offices have been massively scaled back, as have the resources that enabled diverse women’s groups to effectively organize, gather information, advocate, and provide essential community services. Formerly strong relationships between women’s organizations and governments have deteriorated and there is no longer a meaningful, enduring system to bring the diverse experiences of Canadian women to the ears of Canadian policymakers.

“The 50th anniversary of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in 2020 invites stock-taking of what has (and has not) been done since then,” says the briefing note’s author, Jane Arscott. “The time is now for all levels of government to amplify women’s voices by working collaboratively with feminist organizations to make gender equality a reality.”

At a time when social movements like #MeToo and the Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women campaign are front and centre, Policy4Women sees a clear need for Canadian governments to (re-)engage diverse women in policymaking and to mandate intersectional, gender-based analysis of existing and newly developed policies to ensure they are helping, and not harming, women in Canada.

The Engendering Public Engagement project (known as Policy4Women) is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and is led by Dr. Barbara Cameron, from the Department of Political Science at York University. Policy4Women brings together twenty university and community-based feminist researchers and three partner organizations: the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA), the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW), and York University’s Centre for Feminist Research (CFR). Inspired by the democratic consultation methods used by the Royal Commission on the Status of Women (RCSW), Policy4Women is exploring how in-person discussions and consultations assisted by new information and communications technology could facilitate a Canada-wide consultation with feminists on public policy issues in 2020, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the ground-breaking RCSW Report.

Jane Stinson
Policy4Women Liaison, CRIAW
(613) 850-0594