Happy #%& Birthday, Beijing
Here's what Helena Guergis will be doing tomorrow -- telling the world how well Canada is doing to advance the cause of women. As some may remember, there are folks who take issue with this rosy view, but here's what Guergis's government finds to celebrate, 15 years since the big Beijing conference.
Canadian DELEGATION TO Attend 54th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and beijing+15
OTTAWA – The Honourable Helena Guergis, Minister of State (Status of Women), will head the Canadian delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW), March 1 to 12 in New York. Member states are engaged in Beijing+15, a 15-year review of progress on implementing the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
“As we celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, I am pleased to be delivering this report on results we have achieved in Canada,” Minister of State Guergis said. “While we are pleased with the solid progress, there is more to do and gatherings like this will help galvanize efforts in Canada and around the world to help improve the quality of life for girls and women.”
This year at the UNCSW, emphasis will be placed on the sharing of experiences and good practices, toward overcoming remaining obstacles and new challenges, including those related to the Millennium Development Goals. On March 2, 2010, Minister of State Guergis will deliver Canada’s statement outlining progress and challenges.
Minister of State Guergis will highlight concrete results achieved, including:
· In 2007, women earned 61 per cent of all university degrees, diplomas and certificates, compared to 55 per cent in 1998.
· In 2009, Canadian women represented 47.2 percent of the labour force.
· Women are starting small businesses at twice the rate of men, and women’s average incomes have increased almost 17 per cent since 2002.
· Beginning in January 2011, self-employed Canadians will have access to four types of federal employment insurance (EI) benefits – maternity, parental, sickness and compassionate care.
· Currently, 28.9 per cent of Canada’s federal Cabinet are women – the highest rate ever.
· Within the federal government bureaucracy, 38.7 per cent of deputy ministers are women, compared to 25 per cent in 2005 – an increase of 50 per cent.
· Women make up 54.9 per cent of Canada’s federal public service, including 43 per cent of all executive-category positions – up from 33.8 per cent in 2005.
· In December 2009, the Government of Canada contributed $1 million to Uniting to End Violence against Women, a project of shelter organizations across Canada to facilitate the national exchange of best practices, and to design and establish a national network of women's shelters across Canada.
· The Government of Canada is working to end trafficking in persons, a crime that particularly affects women and girls trafficked for sexual exploitation. Canada recently renewed a Strategy for preventing the sexual exploitation of children on the Internet and has proposed legislation to change the Criminal Code to combat such exploitation.
· Through its Women’s Program, Status of Women Canada (SWC) supports a wide variety of initiatives aimed at increasing women’s participation in decision-making at all levels. One example is our government’s work with the Canadian Federation of Municipalities and their work to increase women’s leadership and political participation particularly in rural Canada.
“These accomplishments, which just skim the surface of our tremendous progress to date, represent years of work, and the development and implementation of positive, effective and forward-looking policies, including consistent use of our gender-based analysis protocols,” said Minister of State Guergis. “I am looking forward to meeting with other heads of delegations and the representatives of non-governmental organizations from around the world to learn of more best practices globally, and to share Canada’s experiences and our success.”
The UNCSW, a commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, is dedicated to gender equality and advancement of women, and is the principal global policy-making body. The Commission brings together representatives of Member States at UN Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards, and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide. The meeting of the Commission is held each year over a period of 10 working days, normally scheduled in late February-early March.