Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow

March 8, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Human Rights Commission

To mark International Women's Day, the Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Marie-Claude Landry, together with Pay Equity Commissioner, Karen Jensen, issues the following statement:

Today, on International Women's Day, we celebrate generations of women in Canada who through their resilience, courage and dedication have helped build — and continue to help build — the Canada we know today.

Women are at the forefront of our economy and at the centre of our communities. They are leaders, influencers and trailblazers. Women in Canada have a seat at the table, and are now leading the discussions around many tables in our country.

Yet, for the past two years, here in Canada and across the world, we have seen women carry the weight of the pandemic and the fall-out from it. This has been especially true for Indigenous women, Black and racialized women, members of the LGBTQ2SI+ community, women with disabilities and women who experience intersecting forms of discrimination. And in an era where we have been told repeatedly to "stay safe at home," the sentiment could not be further from the reality for the countless women and girls who face domestic violence in their daily lives.

Even prior to the pandemic, women in Canada were still experiencing significant barriers to socioeconomic rights. From poverty, to housing need, to gender wage gaps, too many women are still not on equal footing when it comes to having a fair chance to succeed in life. It all adds up to an inextricable link between the right to decent work, stable formal employment, adequate housing, pay equity and the improvement of women's lives.

For example, studies show that when the wage gap between men and women closes, it leads to positive change, including:

  • women are more likely to leave abusive relationships;
  • single mothers are better able to support their children;
  • women are better prepared for retirement and less likely to spend their senior years in poverty; and
  • women's self-esteem and mental health improves.

In addition, studies have also shown that closing the wage gap helps to power economic recovery and to reduce household indebtedness. In other words, when women achieve economic equality, everyone benefits.

As Canada looks to a more sustainable tomorrow, beyond the pandemic into a critical era of urgent climate change and improved human rights for all, it is be imperative that all levels of government and all communities across Canada work together to improve gender equality.

As we often said before: No country can truly thrive if half its population is left further behind. When all women thrive, all of Canada thrives.

Ensuring gender equality means giving women, in all their diversity, a fair chance to succeed and thrive today, while building a sustainable tomorrow.


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