Statement by Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women,  Head of the Delegation of Canada To the United Nations Commission On the Status of Women (UNCSW) 61st  Session


March 15, 2017
New York

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Madame Chair, Distinguished delegates

Four years ago, I was here at CSW representing my community of Peterborough-Kawartha as part of an NGO delegation.

Today, as my country's minister of status of women, I am honoured to share with you Canada's progress and priorities for advancing gender equality.

Canada, a founding nation of the United Nations, remains committed to bringing the world together to advance and protect human rights, especially for women and girls.

Madame chair,

This international women's day, as part of Canada's 150th birthday celebrations, the Canadian government partnered with Equal Voice, a national NGO devoted to electing more women to political office.

We hosted Canada's Daughters of the vote, and all who participated experienced a historic moment as 338 talented young women, one for each Canadian electoral district, took her seat in Canada's parliament.

They eloquently and respectfully discussed issues such as gender based violence and women's equality, reconciliation with indigenous peoples, and a sustainable economy that includes all Canadians.

Madame Chair, their concerns are Canada's concerns.

With leadership from our Prime Minister, an outspoken feminist and UN He for She champion, my colleagues and I have been mandated to support and grow Canada's middle class.

Our efforts include:

  • Developing strategies for housing, poverty reduction and for addressing and preventing gender based violence.
  • Launching an independent national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
  • Enhancing financial benefits for older adults who have worked hard to build our country.
  • Developing a national early learning and childcare framework and introducing a child benefit plan.
  • Working to reform the federal pay equity regime so that women receive the same pay as their male counterparts.
  • Introducing laws to increase women's representation on corporate boards.
  • Joining the UN in the global efforts to increase the participation of women and girls in STEM fields.

Women and girls are also central to our international development assistance program: in alignment with UN sustainable development goals, Canada recently committed $650 million to sexual and reproductive health and rights. 

Progress is underway in Canada, with more work ahead.

This work requires a collaborative approach that includes Canada's provinces, territories, indigenous peoples and NGO's and others devoted to Gender equality. 

Aware of the collective wisdom held by the international community, over 200 members of Team Canada are here to listen and to share our stories too.

For me personally, the visual of 338 inspiring young women, taking their seats in Canada's parliament, will be a lasting reminder of all that is possible.

On behalf of our government, I commit Canada to remain engaged in the global efforts to improve social and economic outcomes for our daughters, our sisters and our mothers.

Thank you. Merci. Tashakor. Miigwetch.

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