Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to gender equality.
The Government of Canada is committed to making gender equality a priority. Gender equality is about more than just equality between women and men. Indeed, every individual should enjoy the same rights and opportunities, regardless of their gender.
We are proud to support the creation of gender equality week, and we invite all Canadians to join us in this celebration.
Despite increased prosperity, women continue to face key barriers linked to gender inequality. Women with disabilities, indigenous women, senior women, and women who are members of visible minority groups are also particularly vulnerable to inequality. Furthermore, transgender and non-conforming individuals face further marginalization due to prevailing gender norms and attitudes within Canadian society.
The intention of gender equality week is to recognize aspects of Canadian society where women have not achieved equality and to promote awareness of these inequalities. The week would also serve to educate Canadians on opportunities to promote gender equality and actively address issues that may contribute to inequality.
Gender equality week would also serve to educate Canadians on the non-binary nature of gender and provide information on issues facing gender-diverse individuals.
From a public policy perspective, gender equality week would provide additional opportunity for the Government of Canada to underscore the importance of gender equality and the ongoing need for gender-based analysis in the development of government programs and services.
October is currently celebrated as Women’s History Month in Canada and includes International Day of the Girl on October 11 and Persons Day on October 18.
Recognizing gender equality week in September could be an opportunity to generate and sustain awareness on gender equality issues more broadly. There are no anticipated legal, financial or federal-provincial-territorial implications associated with this bill.
By the first week of October, educators and students will have settled into their fall routines. This presents an opportunity for thoughtful and robust engagement on the subject of gender equality in Canada. Bill C-309 also complements Women's History Month, in that it highlights the important work that remains ahead of us.
Canadians will have an opportunity to address these challenges, since the federal government cannot solve all of them alone. Bill C-309 encourages all levels of government, indigenous communities and organizations, academia, the private sector, not-for-profits, the media, and civil society at large to participate in a national conversation to raise collective awareness of these challenges and to identify constructive solutions.
In addition to national engagement on these issues, it is hoped that engagement in gender equality week will take on a local character through community-based activities ranging from town halls and research proposals to fundraising initiatives.
It will thereby serve as an effective vehicle for members of Parliament to build and strengthen relationships within their communities. This bill creates an annual platform that encourages all Canadians to recognize gender equality as a fundamental human rights issue linked to other policy areas, such as health care, crime, poverty, discrimination, and inequality.
We intend for Bill C-309 to complement and work in tandem with our government's plan to address these challenges by building momentum around achieving true gender equality in Canadian society.
My party and I will certainly support such a worthwhile bill.