Canada announces funding for women and girls’ health and rights, and gender equality at 2023 Women Deliver Conference

News release

July 20, 2023 – Ottawa, Canada - Global Affairs Canada

Canada is committed to working with Canadian and global partners to uphold and promote the health and rights of women and girls, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

Earlier this week, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, and Arielle Kayabaga, Member of Parliament for London West, took part in the 2023 Women Deliver Conference in Kigali, Rwanda. While at the conference, they participated in many events and had the opportunity to meet with other policy leaders, activists, women’s rights organisations and youth, to highlight Canada’s continued leadership and support for them to advance gender equality and comprehensive SRHR, including support for victims of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

During a panel discussion on SRHR, bodily autonomy and abortion rights, Minister Sajjan announced more than $200 million in funding for new projects. The projects are part of Canada’s SheSOARS initiative, funded as part of the 10-Year Commitment to Global Health and Rights. Projects funded under SheSOARS support neglected and underfunded areas of SRHR, including family planning, comprehensive sexuality education, advocacy for SRHR, safe abortion and post-abortion care, and sexual and gender-based violence.

During a side event to discuss strategies to end child, early and forced marriage, co-hosted by the Government of Canada, UNFPA, UNICEF, and Girls Not Brides, Minister Sajjan announced an allocation of $35 million, as part of the $200-million SheSOARS package, for the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage, and $3 million for the Girls Not Brides project. During his remarks, Minister Sajjan underscored the need for urgent action to end child marriage, because without additional commitments to this issue, over 80 million girls will be forced to marry between now and 2030.

At a reception with MSI Reproductive Choices, MP Kayabaga announced a $10-million allocation for MSI for the “Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights project” – also part of Canada’s SheSOARS initiative - to help reach thousands of women and girls in Africa, Asia and Latin America each year with lifesaving sexual and reproductive health services.

During a pre-conference event on strengthening care policies, MP Kayabaga announced $25 million in funding for a project, in partnership with the International Development Research Centre, that will work directly with women leaders, local experts, and local institutions to scale up solutions for women’s unpaid care work. She also announced $5.2 million for Oxfam Canada’s Time to Care project, which addresses gender norms and supports progressive care policies. These investments support a care economy that empowers and includes women and girls, and are part of Canada’s $100-million commitment to address inequalities in unpaid and paid care work internationally.

On the margins of the conference, Minister Sajjan met with several Rwandan government representatives, including Rwanda’s Minister of Health, Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana. This discussion centered around how Rwanda tackles challenges in the health sector, and on Canada’s Technical Assistance Partnership (TAP) program. Minister Sajjan and MP Kayabaga also met with Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Dr. Ildephonse Musafiri, to discuss Rwandan priorities in agriculture and Canada’s approach to agriculture and food security under its Feminist International Assistance Policy, including with regard to fertilizer and women’s economic empowerment. With Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Vincent Biruta, the discussion was about avenues to further deepen bilateral relations between Canada and Rwanda. 

During the conference, Minister Sajjan, along with Minister Ien and MP Kayaba, met with President Paul Kagame, to discuss regional security, as well as to congratulate Rwanda for hosting the Women Deliver Conference.  

Minister Ien also visited the Skills, Leadership, Education (CLE) Program implemented by Forum for African Women Educationalists, to learn about education and sexual and reproductive health education programs funded by Canada.

The Canadian delegation also visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial, a place of remembrance and learning dedicated to the victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Minister Sajjan is accompanied by MP Kayabaga in Tanzania, where he will visit projects supported by the Government of Canada focusing on health, SRHR, inclusive economic growth, nutrition and food security, and meet with officials to discuss issues in the region and Canada’s ongoing commitment to Tanzania.


“I appreciated this opportunity to exchange and share the stage with policy leaders, women’s rights organisations and youth advocates who are dedicated to standing up for SRHR. Gender equality and protecting SRHR are critical to advancing all of our development goals. We must continue to work together to uphold and promote the rights of women and girls. And this must include their sexual and reproductive health and rights.”

- Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

“As we face global crises, it is imperative that we continue to work together on empowering women and ensuring gender equality. We stand to learn so much from each other, especially from girls, women’s rights organisations and local communities, about protecting and advancing the rights of women and girls in all their diversity.”

- Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth

“I was pleased to see the many new initiatives take shape, leading to more investments and stronger partnerships. I am committed to continue advocating for pathways to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights, in Canada and everywhere. Women deserve the right to choose for their bodies and as a leader, it is our duty to protect these essential human rights.”

- Arielle Kayabaga, Member of Parliament for London West

Quick facts

  • Canada’s 10-Year Commitment (2020-2030) to Global Health and Rights was announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the 2019 Women Deliver Conference in Vancouver. This commitment includes $700 million a year for SRHR, with an emphasis on supporting 5 particularly neglected and underfunded areas of SRHR.

  • In 2021-2022, Canada’s assistance provided safe abortions and post-abortion care to 47,185 women in 18 countries through 15 projects.

  • The Government of Canada is a long-standing international leader on women’s rights and gender equality. In 2021-22, Canada was among the top bilateral donors in supporting women’s rights organisations in developing countries, as well as in ending violence against women and girls. In just one year, Canada and its partners reached over 42 million people through projects aimed at ending SGBV.

  • On June 30, 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $100 million to address unpaid and paid care work issues in for low- and middle-income countries, to help increase women’s ability to participate in the economy, in education, and in public life. Canada is one of the leading donors on care work worldwide.

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Haley Hodgson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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Johise Namwira
Press Secretary and Issues Manager
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth

Media Relations
Women and Gender Equality Canada
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