Women and Gender Equity Strategy
In late 2018, City Council voted in favour of creating the City’s first Women and Gender Equity Strategy. I was privileged to champion this endeavour, taking on the role of Council Liaison for Women and Gender Equity and Chair of the Council Sponsors’ Group.
I am pleased to announce that the City’s report on Women and Gender Equity Strategy (WGES) was presented and passed at a special Community and Protective Services Committee meeting this morning. Key strategic actions of the strategy include; reviewing policies regarding Council support staff and general policies related to sexual and gender-based harassment and violence and to remove systemic barriers faced by women and gender diverse people in Ottawa to ensure a respectful and inclusive workplace for all its employees.
I am thankful to the many partners who participated in the creation of the WGES. This is a significant step forward in our continued efforts to ensure equity for women and gender diverse people in Ottawa. While the primary focus of this strategy is to advance women and gender equity in the City of Ottawa, an intersectional approach was followed in developing WGES outcomes, strategic priorities, and actions. This includes a special focus on the need to develop awareness among City staff around the Indigenous gender lens and the unique needs of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.
As we continue to advance reconciliation, equity, diversity, and inclusion, we are mindful that discrimination and barriers to services and opportunities continue for women and gender diverse persons. Indigenous women, older women, racialized women, women with disabilities, and all gender diverse persons face multiple layers of discrimination. To change this reality, a women and gender analysis needs to become an integral part of how we design and evaluate our services so they can be safely accessed by all. In this past year of living with Covid-19 we have seen the disproportionate negative affects this pandemic has had on women in general and particularity racialized communities where there are many working in essential services with less supports available.
It is for our mental well-being and community growth that we as a City continue to move forward and adopt a vocabulary where we better communicate differences, to increase appreciation for diversity and ensure equality. Together we can continue to build a more inclusive City and champion for communities where there is no place for discrimination, hate or gender bias.