Announcement: Gender equity research hub


The Honourable Kirsty Duncan
Minister of Science and Sport

Ottawa, Ontario
May 1, 2019, 12 p.m.


Hello/Bonjour, and thank you all for being here.

And thank you Kate [Parliamentary Secretary Kate Young] for your warm welcome.

I want to begin by acknowledging that we are gathered on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Peoples.

I love sport, I live for sport – and sport provides so many benefits – better health, reduced stress, new connections, leadership skills and life lessons, how to set goals and achieve them, how to overcome challenges and how to work together.

Everyone deserves the opportunity to benefit from sport.

Since being appointed Minister of Sport, I’ve been working hard to ensure that women and girls are welcome—and can thrive—in sport.

It’s alarming to read statistics about the level of participation of women and girls in sport in our country.

We know that participation for men is 35 percent…while for women it is only 16 percent.

And women make up only about one-third of certified coaches, major officials, and board members in national sport organizations.

We need to remove the barriers that prevent women and girls from participating in sport, and to inspire, encourage and provide them with the necessary resources to get involved in sport…and stay involved.

That’s why our government committed to reaching gender equity in sport by 2035, though I want to get it done much earlier.

In Budget 2018, we announced $30 million over three years for a Gender Equity Strategy to support the participation and retention of women and girls in all aspects of the Canadian sport system – namely coaching, officiating, and leadership positions.

And not only girls and women but people from all backgrounds – persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, members of visible minority communities and LGBTQ2+ individuals.

Today I am pleased to announce funding of $2.6 million over three years to design, create and implement a research hub to support gender equity research in sport based on international best practices.

The data collected from this hub will allow us to better understand the barriers women and girls face in sport, especially in sport leadership roles.

Working with the Sport Information Resource Centre, the Research Hub will:

  • track participation of women and girls in sport
  • monitor and evaluate related policies and programs
  • create a national database of relevant research

As a scientist, former athlete and coach, I am very enthusiastic about this project because it will yield hard data that can be used to inform our decisions and make real progress.

This announcement follows several recent measures introduced to increase participation of women and girls in all levels of sport.

For example, earlier this year we established the Gender Equity Secretariat at Sport Canada to develop, implement and monitor a Gender Equity Strategy.

My recent announcement of $3 million in funding over four years to the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) will increase participation of women and girls in sport as athletes and leaders.

They will do that, in part, by designing and delivering a gender audit service for organizations.

Essentially, this means looking at every aspect of an organization through a gender-equity lens…to see if targets are being met or where more work is needed. The scientist in me loves this project because it will yield hard data that can be used to make real progress.

We’ve accomplished a lot this past year…but much more work remains.

And all of this work has been done in partnership and in close collaboration with our partners in the academic and research community, including in Canada’s sport system.

And, of course, our federally funded national sport and multi-sport service organizations, and Canadian Sport Institutes and Centres.

Thank you to everyone who has played a role in getting us here today – and special thanks to the Gender Equity Working Group and the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group.

The Gender Equity in Sport Research Hub will be a big part of this network that governs, builds and strengthens our Canadian sport system.

We have the right players and the right plans in place to make gender equity and safe sport a reality.

Working together, we are moving in the right direction…toward a safer, healthier and more inclusive sport system for all Canadians.

Thank you. Merci.

[I’d now like to invite Karin Lofstrom to share a few words. Karin has been a member of the Working Group on Gender Equity in Sport, and I’m sure you’ll appreciate her perspective.]

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