A welcome advance in gender equality has been launched by women who previously suffered sexual assault or harassment in their workplace in silence. Hollywood counted 51 high-profile men who lost their positions last fall alone, due to credible allegations of sexual harassment. Now media leaders and politicians are also paying the price.
This January I had the opportunity to represent you and all Canadians at ParlAmericas’ “Partnerships to Transform Gender Relations” in Jamaica. Throughout several long days, Canadian and Caribbean Parliamentarians and gender equality experts explored issues and shared solutions from our respective countries. As Head of the Canadian delegation, I highlighted the many Canadian gender equality initiatives introduced since late 2015. Bill C-65, for example, amends the Labour Code to ensure federally regulated workplaces, including Parliament, are free from harassment and violence. And Canada’s foreign aid dollars are now focussed toward the well-being of women and children, thus helping advance gender equality abroad.
In 2012-13 I had spoken about my proposal for gender balance in meeting rooms across the country. I was advocating equality in federal appointments to boards, agencies, commissions, cabinet, and on boards of federally-regulated corporations. My vision is now becoming reality, thanks to the commitment and action by our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The journey toward gender equality has already been long, but the increasing support by men is helping. 2018 promises to continue this welcome momentum of awareness and change.