Thursday, July 10, 2008

Canada and Gender Equality

The functional subordination of women is a form of inequality. It is not ontological equality but it is functional inequality. It is the inequality that is addressed in the law and various policies of a country or organization.

Here is an excerpt from CIDA's Policy on Gender Equality,

Attention to gender equality is essential to sound development practice and at the heart of economic and social progress. Development results cannot be maximized and sustained without explicit attention to the different needs and interests of women and men. If the realities and voices of half of the population are not fully recognized, CIDA's objectives "to reduce poverty and to contribute to a more secure, equitable and prosperous world" (Canada in the World, Government Statement, February 1995, page 42) will not be met.

The goals of reducing poverty and of achieving gender equality are distinct but interrelated. Poverty reduction involves addressing the constraints that limit people's capability to avoid, or limit deprivation. Gender inequalities intensify poverty, perpetuate it from one generation to the next and weaken women's and girls' ability to overcome it. Inequalities prevent women and girls from taking up opportunities which will make them less vulnerable to poverty in situations of crisis.

For poverty reduction to be achieved, the constraints that women and girls face must be eliminated. These constraints include lack of mobility, low self esteem, lack of access to and control over resources, lack of access to basic social services, to training and capacity development opportunities, to information and technology, as well as to decision-making in the state, the judiciary, development and private sector organizations, and in communities and households.


The goal of CIDA's gender equality policy is to support the achievement of equality between women and men to ensure sustainable development.


The objectives of the policy are:

  • to advance women's equal participation with men as decision-makers in shaping the sustainable development of their societies;

  • to support women and girls in the realization of their full human rights; and

  • to reduce gender inequalities in access to and control over the resources and benefits of development.
World Vision has a statement on women as well. I am saddened to see that such a large part of the Christian community does not favour functional gender equality.

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