Robert Fox, the Executive Director of Oxfam Canada, writes a great op-ed in the Chronicle Herald about the need for Canada to make progress on women’s gender equality. Here is just one short snippet… read the rest!
And there is much to be done in Canada itself. When Canada provides aid to governments in developing countries, the Canadian International Development Agency quite rightly demands that developing countries provide an analysis of how women and men will be affected by these funds. They realize the impact on women is likely to be different than it is for men.
Wouldn’t it be a good idea if that same lens were applied here in Canada to budgets at the federal, provincial and municipal levels? That, too, could be part of Canada’s contribution to women’s equality worldwide.
If women’s needs were taken into account in the budget process, Canada’s socio-economic landscape would be very different. Too often, government budgets are assumed to be a gender-neutral policy tool. But experience has shown that spending and tax cuts affect women and men differently based on the roles they play in society. A gender budget ensures the budget contributes to the broader societal goals of social justice, sharing the benefits and costs equitably.
If women’s needs were taken into account, there would be no question about privatizing health care; it would remain public and accessible to all. We would have a national child care program and greater support for affordable housing. Pay equity would be guaranteed and access to post-secondary training and education would be assured. Those accused of violence against women would be fully and fairly prosecuted and survivors of violence would receive the support and respect they need.
Just as we expect of the governments in the global South that receive Canadian aid, Canadians should demand that our governments commit to a budgetary process that addresses the needs of women.