July 1st marks Canada’s 149th birthday, otherwise known as Canada Day. In celebration of this day, here is a look at Canada’s contribution to women, peace, and security. Beginning with the newly inaugurated Prime Minister, who was sworn in on October 2015, PM Justin Trudeau has spoken on numerous occasions how he has no problem identifying himself as a feminist. To Trudeau, the label means “I believe in the equality of men and women” – exemplified by his appointing a diverse cabinet of an equal number of females and males for the first time in the country’s history. This cabinet of 15 women and 15 men has foreshadowed the way Trudeau and his government are going to steer Canada on the international stage.
Canada prides itself on being the world’s international helper and Canadians themselves embrace the peacekeeping persona the country has long given off. As a result, Trudeau’s feminist oriented government and Canada’s long peacekeeping reputation have merged to form Canada’s adjusted international assistance policy that ensures a feminist lens is applied. This includes: health and rights of women and children; clean economic growth and climate change; governance, pluralism, diversity and human rights; peace and security; and responding to humanitarian crises and the needs of displaced populations.
Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s Minister of International Development, has stated that the Government will seek advice and direction from relevant experts to aid Canada in this new policy direction to ensure the country truly develops a policy that is gender-based. In the area of peace and security, Canada has recognized that there is a connection between peace, stability and gender equality – due to this Canada will actively seek to promote and ensure women are equally contributing in the decision-making realm, as well as supporting women as agents of change.
In light of Canada’s significant contributions to women empowerment and peacebuilding, we wish everyone a very Happy Canada Day!
Photo credit: Government of Canada