Liberals to Push for Gender Equality during Canada's Turn at Helm of G7 Summit

By Smith, Joanna | The Canadian Press, December 6, 2017 | Go to article overview

Liberals to Push for Gender Equality during Canada's Turn at Helm of G7 Summit


Smith, Joanna, The Canadian Press


Canada to push for gender equality at G7

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OTTAWA - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is bringing his feminism to the G7 summit next year, which could involve stirring up the issue of sexual and reproductive health rights at a time when U.S. President Donald Trump is far from being on the same page.

The Liberal government is planning to make gender equality a major, overarching theme of its G7 presidency, which includes hosting the gathering of world leaders next June at a resort in La Malbaie, Que.

Canada will champion measures aimed at boosting the economic empowerment of women, including how to increase female participation in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics as a way to respond to a rapidly changing job market, according to a senior government source.

The source, who spoke about the summit preparations on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss details that have not yet been made public, said championing gender equality is a domestic and foreign policy priority for Trudeau, but it is also a way for Canada to be innovative in its approach.

The Liberal government is also expected to push the more controversial issue of sexual and reproductive health rights, which could be a challenge when it comes to convincing the Trump administration to get on board.

Soon after he got to the White House, Trump signed an executive order to enforce the so-called global gag rule that forbids organizations receiving U.S. funding from even mentioning abortion, never mind ensuring access to the procedure.

That could be a difficult issue, just as it was at the G7 summit in Sicily this year, the source acknowledged. But the Liberal government is planning to convene an advisory council on gender equality -- including members of civil society from all seven countries -- that could help pave the way.

Agreement might come more easily on issues such as female entrepreneurship and participation in the workforce, where Trudeau has already managed to find common ground with Trump, with the help of his daughter, Ivanka, in setting up a joint council during his visit to Washington, D.C.

Lauren Dobson-Hughes, a gender and global health consultant, said she is excited about gender issues being such a big part of the agenda, but concerned that things like sexual and reproductive health rights could end up falling off the road to consensus. …

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