Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of International Development and Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade on International Women’s Day


March 8, 2021 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, and the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, today issued the following statement:

“A better world is only possible if the human rights of all people are respected. Women’s rights are human rights, and this fact lies at the heart of Canada’s feminist foreign policy.

“International Women’s Day is an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the human rights of all women and their full, equal and meaningful participation in economic, political, social and cultural life, at home and abroad.

“Many women and girls are serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in different capacities, and many are putting their lives on the line to protect their communities. The crisis has reaffirmed the essential nature of their contributions and the disproportionate burden they carry.

“Canada knows that many women are faced with intersecting forms of discrimination because they are Indigenous, racialized, living with disabilities, LGBTQ2, or experiencing homelessness or displacement.

“That’s why today, Canada is launching #PeacebyHer, a global campaign for diversity and inclusion, recognition, support and protection of women peacebuilders.

“Canada’s international assistance efforts, guided by the Feminist International Assistance Policy, aim to reduce the pandemic’s effects on the health, safety and livelihoods of women and girls. Our Women’s Voice and Leadership Program supports gender equality for vulnerable women in more than 31 countries. And the first-of-its-kind Equality Fund is a sustainable source of funding for women’s movements in developing countries. Canada’s programs address sexual and reproductive health and rights, women’s unpaid care work, and the disproportionate impact climate change has on women and girls. And we recently launched the Together for Learning initiative to promote access to quality education for refugees and displaced children and youth. In addition, Canada supports the empowerment of women and adolescent girls as agents of change through the Generation Equality Forum’s Action Coalition on Feminist Movements and Leadership, which we co-lead.

“Canada also pursues gender equality and women’s economic empowerment through inclusive trade policies. Our free trade agreements include comprehensive, progressive chapters on gender, labour and the environment. We are actively providing more opportunities for women to grow their businesses in Canada and abroad. Throughout the pandemic, Canada has held women-led virtual trade missions around the world and, recently, concluded the Global Trade and Gender Arrangement with Chile and New Zealand, removing barriers to women’s participation in international trade. Whether through trade agreements, the World Trade Organization or the Ottawa Group, Canada is pursuing an inclusive, progressive trade agenda.  

“Looking forward, Canada is committed to an intersectional feminist recovery from COVID-19, particularly in light of the pandemic’s disproportionate effect upon women entrepreneurs and workers. Canada is committed to bringing about a safer and more inclusive, sustainable and prosperous world for all people by advancing gender equality.”


Syrine Khoury
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Guillaume Dumas
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development

Youmy Han
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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