Passionate about women’s rights, gender justice and ending global poverty.
Oxfam Canada is part of a global movement for change made up of 17 Oxfam affiliates working in more than 90 countries to mobilize the power of people against poverty. Women’s rights and overcoming inequality are at the heart of everything we do. Working with Canadians, our partners and allies around the world, Oxfam Canada strives to empower individuals, communities and organizations to build a world without poverty where all human beings are valued and treated equally - a world where women and girls have control over their lives and enjoy their full human rights.
Mining companies headquartered in Canada have been implicated in human rights violations around the world, some involving egregious abuses like sexual violence, forced displacement and extrajudicial killings.
It's increasingly evident that many governments are not keeping the promises enshrined in the laws they have passed. The potential of laws to help eliminate violence against women and girls is going unrealized because implementation is failing. And governments are failing women and girls as a result.
A brave woman was taken from us a year ago. Berta Caceres was shot and killed in the middle of the night by assassins for opposing an illegitimate hydroelectric project which threatened her people's way of life and violated international human rights law.
It is clear that people around the world are angry and disillusioned with the global economy. Growing inequality has left much of humanity struggling to make ends meet while the richest one per cent continues to profit. This rampant inequality is a sure sign our economic model is broken.
Some of my most painful memories are of my friends and cousins crying as they were taken away to be married to men they didn't know, often much older. I grew up seeing young girls sheltered by my mother in our house from being forced into early marriage. Those were the fortunate few. There are many complex causes driving this violence against women and girls. But it is ultimately rooted in the reality that women and men are not treated equally.
Eliminating violence against women and girls requires the implementation of laws, services and access to justice for women and girls that experience violence, and raising awareness among influential actors and everyday people. Transforming what is "normal" in society -- expected, naturalized, unsaid -- is the critical piece of the puzzle, and one that we can all help put in place. We can challenge what we hear and see, check our own behaviour and beliefs, and defy expectations that promote gender inequality.
The global statistics are staggering: 2.4 billion people do not have access to a toilet or latrine. About a billion of them have to defecate in the open, which often leads to serious public health problems. And more than half of the schools in the developing world lack private toilets.
Since launching Oxfam's campaign on women and work last week, we've received all kinds of questions and comments about whether women are really being shortchanged by the global economy. Some suggest that gender inequality doesn't exist here in Canada, only in poor countries.
I am proud to see Canada's leadership in welcoming tens of thousands of Syrian refugees and hope that we inspire other rich nations to open their doors. I also welcome the increase in humanitarian aid announced by Prime Minister Trudeau this week. But resettlement and money alone will not resolve this crisis. Women and girls fleeing conflict, crisis and natural disasters face specific threats -- including human trafficking, exploitation and sexual violence. These risks are often made even worse by others factors like age, race or disabilities.
The Up For Debate campaign sparked incredible excitement and energy among women's groups and their allies around the country. It goes to show we still have so much more to do for women to be equal in this country, and around the planet. There is an enormous strength in women's organizations and feminist movements coming together to do this.
We can vote, and drive, and march on Parliament Hill without fear. But do we question the deep rooted inequalities that make it possible for Aboriginal women and girls to disappear without a trace, and without an outcry? Do we demand an end to the gender wage gap that has been stuck at around 72 per cent -- and hasn't budged in years?
Last week, Canadians came together to celebrate their country's 149th birthday. This week, South Sudan marks five years as an independent nation. Yet for many there is little to celebrate. For half of its brief life, the world's youngest nation has been ripped apart by war, leaving tens of thousands dead.
The North American Leaders Summit is one of the first major opportunities for Prime Minister Trudeau -- a proud feminist -- to turn words into action and put his vision of a feminist foreign policy into practice. The human rights crisis in Mexico should be top of mind as he heads into his meetings with Presidents Obama and Peña Nieto tomorrow.
A new how-to manual for aid workers lays out the issues and practical steps that all must take to ensure women's sexual and reproductive health and rights, including menstrual health that is a precursor to preventing and mitigating gender based violence. Included in these guidelines is a specific requirement to ensure dignified access to hygiene-related materials.
Whether through civil war or other forms of conflict, natural disasters or climate related disasters such as drought, the global scale of displaced people is unprecedented. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates there are now over 60 million forcibly displaced people around the world including 19.5 million refugees -- the highest number on record!
The Panama Papers provide further evidence of the scale of global tax dodging, and of its impact on poverty and inequality, particularly in the global south. Tax havens are estimated to be costing poor countries at least $170bn in lost tax revenues every year. This is essential money which could be paying for schools, hospitals, childcare or services to address violence against women. The realization of women's rights is not going to be achieved for free. UN Women have analyzed country action plans on gender equality and found that some are facing a shortfall of up to 90 per cent in the funds needed to achieve their goals