Statement by Minister Monsef, Head of the Delegation of Canada, to UNCSW 63rd Session

Speech

New York, March 12, 2019

Thank you Madame Chair.

Before I begin, I want to express my sincere condolences, on behalf of the Government of Canada, to the friends and families of the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines crash. I also want to pay tribute to the memory of the humanitarian workers and employees of the United Nations Agencies. May we remember them by continuing their work.

Whether we live in the global south or the global north, all of us at CSW are impatient to achieve gender equality, we all experience pushback and none of us can do this work alone. That’s the lesson I learned at CSW57 as a delegate with the YWCA of Peterborough. I learned that in order to achieve gender equality, we need to work across sectors, cultures, faiths, generations. We need to rely on the power of stories, on evidence and we need to work with men and boys who are part of this work and effort with us.

We believe that gender equality is the right thing to do, it is also the economically smart thing to do. That’s why internationally we have worked to ensure that gender equality was at the heart of our G7 presidency.

With our Feminist International Assistance Policy our goal is that by 2022, 95% of our bilateral international development assistance will go towards advancing gender equality. And we are nearly there! In 2017-18, we are already at 90%. Many thanks to our partners for the work.

With Canadian women earning 88 cents on the dollar of what men earn we know that we also have work to do at home.

We have made gender budgeting a mandatory and permanent part of the federal budget-making processes. The Prime Minister has directed all his Ministers to apply an intersectional gendered lens to all our decisions.

We now have a full department dedicated solely to the advancement of women and gender equality.

We have made substantial investments in women’s organizations, the backbone of the women’s movement, the sustainability that will ensure gender equality for generations to come. 

We have passed a law to ensure proactive pay equity legislation. We have a women entrepreneurship strategy. A carve out of a national housing strategy to support women and those fleeing violence and abuse. A gender based violence strategy that includes targeted funding and support for groups that are underserved and yet face disproportionate levels of gender-based violence in Canada, including Two-spirited and Indigenous women and girls.

And our plan is working. There are more women working, more newcomers working, more Indigenous people working, more young people working in Canada now than ever before. We have the lowest unemployment rate that we have had in over three decades. Over 825,000 Canadians have been lifted out of poverty. Over 900,000 jobs have been created and we know that there is more work to be done.

The theme of this year’s CSW is of particular importance to me personally. I am a product safety nets that work. I

came to Canada as a girl, as an Afghan refugee, with my mom and two sisters, we were welcomed by the people of Peterborough, with welcoming arms into a community and a country that valued our voice and believed that we had potential.

And here I am now, the first Muslim to have a seat on around Canada’s federal table, the first Afghan Canadian to have a seat in the Parliament of Canada, determined to ensure that everyone, including the Indigenous peoples of Canada have equal opportunities.

Canada is proud to share its accomplishments, but we are always humbled to learn from our international partners.

Which is why we are looking forward to hosting the Women Deliver Conference in Vancouver in June. The world’s largest gathering on the health, rights and the well-being of women and girls, a global movement to promote gender equality—for everyone, everywhere. The clock is ticking and not just that one: 83 days until Women Deliver. Eleven years until 2030. Daunting yes, but I am cautiously optimistic that together we will get there. Thank you.


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