|CCIC monthly e-bulletin: February 2016|
2016: still feels like it's 2015!
Prime Minister Trudeau, on the day he took office, coined the phrase “because it’s 2015” when he was asked to explain why he had appointed a perfectly gender-balanced cabinet. With that important act, and that simple phrase, Canada made history by conforming its first ever cabinet with gender parity. It does not look like we will be winning the Stanley Cup any day soon, but hey, we just might go higher than we ever have before on championing women’s rights at home and abroad!
The unfortunate thing is that this happened in November, and so we were only able to use the phrase “because it’s 2015” for a few weeks before it was 2016. However, the PM symbolically opened the flood gates of a force which has been building over years and decades. Declaring himself a feminist some months later while at the World Economic Forum in Davos made things that much more interesting – providing a clear signal, from the highest level, of the changes that are possible around women’s rights and gender equality in this country.
As a development practitioner, having spent much of my professional life in developing countries working on projects and programs that incorporated women’s empowerment, women’s rights and gender equity issues, I often felt challenged by what we were and were not doing in Canada on related issues. Were we setting the right example for others to follow? Were we walking the talk? Were we pushing the envelope far enough, given the privileged position that we were starting from? And what about the situation of marginalized women in our society – and in particular of indigenous women?
Even if the situation for women in Canada has been generally much better than that of many of our sisters in developing countries, and even in many developed countries, in recent years, there was a growing sense that we were losing some of the ground that had been won through much struggle by our mothers and grandmothers before us. Many women’s rights groups lost their government funding, services for women in certain critical areas were being curtailed, and we seemed to have plateaued on a number of indicators of empowerment and equity. The term feminist was perceived in many circles as “the f word” and women’s rights, and especially sexual and reproductive rights, became “contentious issues”.
Now there is a sense we might soon be on track to finally close the gender wage gap. That we will see parity not only in cabinet, but also in parliament, in the senate, in the higher ranks of civil service, on boards, in leadership positions in the for profit and not-for-profit sectors, in universities, in the media. That we will finally have an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. And that we will again talk openly about the importance of upholding women’s rights, including sexual and reproductive rights.
And all this feels like it is at arm’s reach not because we have a Prime Minister who declared that it was high time, or because he has taken an important stance on many of these issues by declaring himself a feminist. It is rather because our Prime Minister is in the right place at the right time – that place being Canada and that time being now.
In the international development sector we have seen an increasing number of leadership positions occupied by smart, courageous and creative women. A large number of organizations in the sector are working in international development and humanitarian assistance with a focus on women and girls, on women’s rights and on gender equality. And several with a clear commitment to a feminist approach. The CCIC’s Emerging Leaders’ Network has attracted predominantly young women professionals in the sector. There is a definite sense of positive momentum.
Last year, one of the most energizing collective projects was the Up for Debate Campaign. It brought together more than 175 women’s groups from across the country, working domestically or internationally on women’s rights issues. Up for Debate called on party leaders to debate women’s issues in the context of the election campaign. CCIC had women’s rights and gender equality as one of three priority themes in the We Can Do Better 2015 campaign. And this year, CCIC is holding its first ever Women Leaders’ Forum which will bring together leaders from member organizations to discuss women in politics, advocacy and the new government, and to build skills to intervene more effectively in the public discourse. We will also celebrate women’s leadership, with a soiree co-hosted by the Museum of Nature, which will include inspiring Ignite Speakers and the launch of The Karen Takacs Award for Women’s Leadership in International Development. Ministers Hajdu and Bibeau will be addressing the room, and other Ministers, MPs, senior public servants, sector and cultural leaders have been invited to share in the excitement of the promise of a new day.
Happy international women’s day. I am quite excited about the promise of what we can accomplish in the months and years to come – may Canada once again show the way on women’s rights and gender equity!
Do you have any reactions to this column? I’d like to hear from you! Please send any comments to Julia Sanchez.
Job openings in the sector!
If you -or someone you know- is looking for an exciting position in international development and humanitarian assistance, make sure that you visit CCIC's employment page! Canadian Feed the Children, World Renew and CCIC, among others, are recruiting experienced and passionate individuals. And if your organization wants to post an ad, send it to: email@example.com.
70 days until International Cooperation Days 2016!
The 2016 CCIC Annual Conference is quickly-approaching! "Fit for purpose? CSO transformation for Agenda 2030" focuses on the challenges and opportunities facing civil society organizations (CSOs) in a new era of global development cooperation. Recently, the 2015 UN sustainable development summit reaffirmed and strengthened our global commitment to the sustainable development goals. COP21 resulted in the Paris agreement – a turning point for action to limit climate change. And for Canada, a new government means new opportunities for consultation, policy review and leadership.
We CSOs find ourselves at a critical moment to rethink and revaluate how we work. 2016 is a strategic moment to influence the future direction of Canadian development cooperation. "Fit for purpose? CSO transformation for Agenda 2030" will unpack the new global agendas through plenary, intensive action-oriented workshops, and side-events. The conference will feature three streams: policy, programming and partnership. Participants can stick to one stream or mix and match! Please visit the Conference Website for further details and exciting updates!
New Webpage for the CCIC Emerging Leaders Network
MEMBER PROFILE: Oxfam-Québec
MEMBERS IN ACTION
Each year, the Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale (AQOCI) and its members organize a series of events during International Development Week (IDW, first week of February). The focus this year was on refugees and a special issue was published in Le Devoir, including one article where CCIC was quoted. AQOCI also launched a comic book Salima, d’Alep à Joliette which depicts the journey of a woman refugee from Syria.
This report submitted by Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights examines violations of articles 10 and 12 of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), with respect to ensuring access to safe abortion services without discrimination; providing young people with access to accurate, evidence-based sexuality education; incidences of forced sterilization; and the denial of sexual and reproductive health care on moral or religious grounds.
World Literacy Canada launched its national writing contest Write for a Better World open to students in grades 5 to 8. The contest invites students to write an original story describing what happens next in 400 words or less: “People often say that “every person is the hero of their own story.” What they don’t know is that sometimes you are villain in someone else’s story. This is the story of the day I learned that lesson the hard way.” The deadline for submitting a story is April 15th.
WORTH A LOOK
Soon celebrating one year of existence, CCIC's blog Development Unplugged has become a popular platform for cutting edge and critical thinking on international development and other global issues. Latest articles published in February include a post on how Canada can revamp its strategy on food security, by Kai-Hsin Hung, as well as a summary and reflections on the new Canadian international guidelines for addressing gender-based violence (GBV) during humanitarian operations, written by CCIC's Policy Officer Gavin Charles. Articles can be submitted to Chantal Havard.
Global Affairs Canada recently launched its first International Policy Ideas Challenge, designed to identify concrete innovative solutions to emerging international policy challenges. The contest is open to talented graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in Canada. The deadline for application is March 31.
According to a new Oxfam Briefing paper, the richest 1% now have more wealth than the rest of the world combined, and 62 billionaires own the same amount of wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion people on the planet. This report also shows how women are disproportionately affected by inequality; for example women continue to be dramatically overrepresented in precarious and low wage work. The promotion of the report includes a call to action aimed at PM Trudeau, asking his government to tackle inequality and climate change and support women's rights.
The number of people in need as a result of the conflict in Syria continues to rise, but the international aid response has failed to keep up. Oxfam is calling for rich states to commit to fully funding this year’s Syria crisis response appeal and to resettle 10 percent of all registered Syrian refugees by the end of 2016. Oxfam has developed indicators to determine the fair level of commitment that each wealthy country should make to the appeals in 2016 to alleviate the suffering of those affected by the Syria crisis.
A 2013 survey by the Muttart Foundation found that 74% of Canadians believe charities spend too much on salaries and administration. Imagine Canada observes that a focus on overhead —"the ongoing expenses of a charity that cannot be directly attributed to any specific charitable activity, but may still be necessary for the charity to function”— is an indication that the nonprofit sector is not well understood and that evaluation of the sector is based on the wrong metrics. A recent article explores this issue, the myth around it, the law in Canada, if charities should spend more or less on overhead, as well as how donors should measure effectiveness.
Concertation pour Haiti (CPH) recently published a report asking the federal government to change the 5 year strategy for Haiti adopted in June 2015 by the previous government. According to CPH, the current strategy focuses too much on rebuilding Haiti with the mining sector and should instead embrace a whole range of issues, including agriculture, education, social economy, and sustainable tourism. On a related note, an article published earlier this month in Le Devoir states that the government's evaluation of Canada’s development program in Haiti between 2006-2013 concluded that most interventions had produced positive results, in contrast with the negative assessment made by former Minister of International Development Julian Fantino.
Affairs Canada, in partnership with Canadian Foreign Policy Journal and the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, released its comprehensive foreign policy review : A Global Review for Canada: Insights and Options. The review covers a range of key areas including defence, foreign aid, climate change and refugees. An assessment of past policies and policy recommendations are included.
The GBV Guidelines have been revised from the 2005 version by an inter-agency Task Team led by UNICEF and UNFPA, and endorsed by the IASC in 2015. The purpose of the Guidelines is to assist humanitarian actors and communities affected by armed conflict, natural disasters and other humanitarian emergencies to coordinate, plan, implement, monitor and evaluate essential actions for the prevention and mitigation of GBV across all sectors of humanitarian response.
Dominique Caouette and Dip Kapoor just published a book which show social movements in the Global South are rejecting the Western-centric notions of development and modernization to create their own alternatives. Beyond Colonialism, Development and Globalization represents a radical break with the prevailing narrative of modernization, and points to a bold new direction for development studies.
Humanitarian Alternatives is the project of an international bilingual journal, initiated and supported by four foundations: the Action Against Hunger Foundation, the French Red-Cross Fund, the Handicap International Foundation and the Mérieux Foundation – in collaboration with a network of partner universities and institutes being developed. An inaugural issue on Ebola was recently published.
CCIC IN THE NEWS
Global Affairs 'considering' UN gigs for youth
Canada’s development aid: will Trudeau make a difference?
Pas de virage à 180 degrés
To maximize visibility, Canada needs clearer targets for aid
Trudeau’s Foreign Policy: Development and Trade
Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: A Canadian Perspective
Fin de auditoría a organismos de beneficencia canadienses no sorprende al CCCI
First CCIC Women’s Leaders’ Forum
International Cooperation Days 2016
May 11-12, 2016 CCIC Annual Conference - Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health
May 13, 2016 Global Affairs Canada Consultation
Le Gala drôlement bénéfique d’Oxfam-Québec
Happy New Feminist Year- 2016 Femmys
The Hill Times Events: An International Women’s Day Discussion on Gender Equality
Smart Global Development conference
Le financement du développement et les objectifs de développement durable : quel modèle, pour qui, et par qui?
CIVICUS International Civil Society Week: Active Citizens, Accountable Actions
CAIDP's Annual Conference - Renewal: A New Era for International Development Professionals
2016 CALACS Conference: Hybrid Communities, Societies, Spaces, and Subjectivities
2016 World Social Forum
2016 Canadian Humanitarian Conference: Canada’s role as a humanitarian actor on the global stage
If you have an item for Flash!, you may send it to Chantal Havard. Please note that items should be no longer than 150 words.