Calls to Action
Up for Debate 2021 calls for the human rights of all women and girls – trans and cis – and Two-Spirit and non-binary people to be fully respected, protected, and upheld. Action is needed on serious threats and rollbacks to their rights in Canada and around the world, from staggeringly high rates of gender-based violence to the persistence of the gender wage gap.
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the extent to which our economy depends on the paid and unpaid labour of women and girls – trans and cis – and Two-Spirit and non-binary people. Yet little has been done to protect their economic security or provide an accessible social safety net. Gender-based violence has increased dramatically in frequency and severity and women, particularly Black, Indigenous, racialized, newcomer, immigrant, refugee, non-status, and those with disabilities, have been disproportionately impacted by a pandemic that limits their ability to seek help. COVID-19 is threatening decades of gains for women’s economic equality and safety.
During the 2021 federal election campaign, we call on all federal political parties in Canada to:
- Outline action plans in support of women’s rights, gender justice, and an intersectional feminist economic recovery in their election platforms and commitments;
- Focus on women’s rights and gender justice in all federal leaders’ debate(s).
Up For Debate calls for federal leadership to ensure:
1. Universal access to an effective social safety net
Everyone has the right to economic equality and opportunity, and the right to be free from poverty. Women and girls – trans and cis – and Two-Spirit and non-binary people in Canada and around the world live in poverty because of systemic discrimination, including impacts at the intersections of multiple identities and oppressions.
Call to action:
Federal political parties commit to implement an intersectional feminist economic recovery and to remove barriers to economic equality by funding public services and social programs in Canada that help lift all women and girls – trans and cis – and Two-Spirit and non-binary people out of poverty with a priority on:
- Universal child care;
- Safe, accessible, and affordable housing;
- Just immigration policies;
- Equitable health care, including mental, sexual, and reproductive health, universal pharmacare, and paid sick leave for all;
- Enhancing Employment Insurance, particularly for part-time and low-income earners;
- Implementing the TRC’s Calls to Action and the MMIWG2S+ National Inquiry Report’s Calls to Justice;
- Addressing systemic discrimination and oppression such as ableism, homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Black racism, anti-Asian racism, anti-Indigeneity, anti-Semitism, racism, transphobia, and xenophobia.
2. All women and girls – trans and cis – and Two-Spirit and non-binary people live free from violence
Everyone has the right to live and work free from violence, yet gender-based violence is a shadow pandemic. Indigenous, Black, trans, Two-Spirit and non-binary people; racialized women; newcomer, immigrant, refugee, and non-status women; women with disabilities; people who use drugs; sex workers; and those with multiple and intersecting identities are all disproportionately impacted by gender-based violence. They face additional violence through criminalization and systemic violence from institutions and state actors.
Call to action:
Federal political parties must fully fund and implement:
- A National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence that centers the most marginalized communities of women, including Black, Indigenous, racialized, newcomer, immigrant, refugee, and non-status women, and women with disabilities;
- A national action plan to address the extreme levels of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people, including the implementation of the Calls to Justice from the MMIWG2S+ National Inquiry Report.
3. Effective support for women’s rights and gender justice organizations
The rights of women and girls – trans and cis – and Two-Spirit and non-binary people are increasingly at risk with the rise of populism and shrinking space for civil society to peacefully advocate for human rights in a safe and enabling environment. Women’s rights and gender justice organizations in Canada and around the world must be adequately funded and supported to carry out their critical work.
Call to action:
Federal political parties commit to:
- Increased, long-term, core funding for women’s rights and gender justice organizations, including grassroots advocates, to support a healthy and thriving civil society in Canada and around the world;
- Strong supports for gender justice and women’s rights defenders who face harassment and violence in Canada and around the world;
- Significant increases to Canada’s international assistance budget.