Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy


As the global context continues to evolve, Canada’s vision is allowing it to position itself as a leader on gender equality. Canada is refocusing its international assistance on the poorest and most vulnerable, in the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. The new feminist policy responds to a clear mandate from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reduce global inequality and extreme poverty, promote inclusion and ensure human rights are respected around the world.

With this new vision, Canada is positioned to become a leading voice for progressive international assistance while advancing the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The new Feminist International Assistance Policy will focus on the following areas for action:

Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls

Canada’s feminist approach begins with gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls as the primary means to challenge poverty and inequality. Canada will address sexual and gender-based violence, support women’s rights organizations and movements, improve public sector institutional capacity to build gender equality and contribute to a strong evidence base for gender equality actions.

Human dignity

In regions of the world where the poorest and most vulnerable have limited or no essential services and where they also face the devastating effects of conflict and natural disasters, Canada will help ensure that they have access to quality health care and nutrition, education and timely humanitarian assistance. Canada’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy will help protect and preserve human dignity.

Growth that works for everyone

Canada will encourage growth that works for everyone by supporting the full participation of women in economic decision making and leadership. The full and equal participation of women as economic actors enhances their control over household resources and decision making and reduces the heavy burden of unpaid work, including child care.

Environment and climate action

Canada will leverage private sector investment and facilitate the transition to a greener global economy. Resource scarcity coupled with persistent inequalities means climate change has a disproportionate impact on women. Canada’s support will have a particular focus on women’s resilience to climate change, by helping increase their access and control over resources affected by climate change and empowering their leadership in decision making in climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, as well as improving their access to water and other natural resources.

Inclusive governance

Canada will support inclusive governance through investments that promote women’s rights, including women’s leadership and decision making, their political participation and their legal empowerment and access to justice. This will also help to create an environment where all people feel free to participate in the political and social life of their communities. Accountable governance, peaceful pluralism, respect for diversity and human rights, and democracy are essential ingredients for an inclusive world.

Peace and security

Canada’s international assistance will support peace and stability, as well as development in fragile states and those affected by violent conflict—with particular support for women as peacebuilders. International assistance programming will also help advance women’s rights in states recovering from conflicts, including access to essential services for women and girls and gender equality training for peace operations.

Women’s Voice and Leadership Program

In support of the new Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada will launch a new Women’s Voice and Leadership Program that will support local organizations in developing countries to advance women’s rights. Local women’s organizations and movements in developing countries are key agents for change and strengthening the rights of women and girls, as well as for promoting gender equality.

However, these organizations face significant challenges with respect to funding and the capacity to make continued progress in their efforts. To this end, Canada is allocating $150 million over five years (from 2017 to 2022) to a program that will support local women’s organizations in at least 30 countries. The initiative is designed to support the work of local women’s groups in advancing the empowerment and rights of women and girls, as well as to build their capacity and support their networks.

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