Definition: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
- End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
- Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation
- Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
List of Changes and Cuts:
- Disbanding expert panel to end violence against women
- Reduced funding for sexual assault centres
There have been numerous changes that have impacted gender equality. While there are only two listed changes under this Sustainable Development Goal, it is important to note that certain policy and funding changes that fall under other SDGs do also affect gender equality. Examples of this are the childcare tax credit (see “No Poverty”).
Violence against women is a global issue. Nearly 50 per cent of all femicides in Canada took place in Ontario, this is evidence for the need of an expert panel to end violence against women.[i] Unfortunately, the decision was made to disband the panel which was established to provide strategic advice on policies. The panel was comprised of representatives from organizations that address issues related to violence against women, but also those that have experience with specific populations, including Indigenous women, immigrants, older women, LGBTQ people and sex workers. The panel also advocated for paid leave for people experiencing domestic or sexual violence or the threat of violence, which was included in the previous government’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act in 2017, but repealed last year.
Every year 3,500 survivors of sexual assault are treated in Ontario hospitals. 52, 000 been treated between 2002 and 2016, with 90 per cent of victims being female.[ii] Ontario’s rape crisis centres are an essential resource for survivors of sexual assault, however their funding has also been rolled back for the upcoming fiscal year that has impeded the ability of some centres to provide the timely response that is required for such emotionally traumatic experiences. Currently, the Toronto rape crisis centre’s waitlist for face-to-face counselling has increased to 15 months.[iii]
We were unable to find announcements or policy changes to mitigate the loss of the expert panel which also worked to promote gender equality in education, decent work, and health and well-being – all which impact women’s health. By repealing acts that would address gender discrimination in the workplace, reducing funding to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) institutes that have been promoting the inclusion of women in that field, and disbanding a roundtable to address the ongoing issue of gender violence, we see a trajectory against improved gender equality.
[i] Dawson, M. (2018). 106 Women and Girls Killed by Violence: Eight-Month Report. Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability. Retrieved June 21, 2019, from https://femicideincanada.ca/sites/default/files/2018-09/CFOJA%20FINAL%20REPORT%20ENG%20V3.pdf.
[ii] The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. (2019). More than 52,000 sexual assault cases treated in Ontario hospitals during 15-year period. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from https://www.ices.on.ca/Newsroom/News-Releases/2019/More-than-52000-sexual-assault-cases-treated-in-Ontario-hospitals-during-15-year-period.
[iii] Fitzpatrick, M. (2019). Ontario sexual assault centres urge Ford government to help meet ‘explosive; demand for service. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved June 29, 2019, from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-sexual-assault-centres-urge-ford-government-to-help-meet-explosive-demand-for-service-1.5024274.