City to present comprehensive strategy to advance gender equity

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The City is set to make significant progress on gender equity with a new strategy that would strengthen equitable access to municipal services for everyone.

The City today released its first Women and Gender Equity Strategy, which demonstrates how it would work to remove systemic barriers faced by women and gender diverse people in Ottawa and ensure a respectful and inclusive workplace for all its employees.

The strategy was informed by input from a comprehensive, intersectional public engagement process that began in 2019. This consultation included input from Indigenous, racialized, immigrant and older adult groups, and persons with disabilities.

Consultations revealed four key themes: housing, safety, gender inclusivity and equitable representation in the workforce. The first phase of the framework for 2021 and 2022 outlines key actions that the City would take to address those areas, including prioritizing women in the housing blitz, piloting free menstrual products, hiring from equity-deserving groups, and reviewing policies on sexual and gender-based harassment and violence.

There will also be a focus on education and training on gender equity for City staff, and the safety and security of all City workspaces and facilities will be reviewed and standardized. Recognizing that public health crises impact women and girls disproportionately, the strategy also integrates gender equity into the City’s COVID-19 response and recovery planning.

Residents interested in learning about the full strategy are encouraged to review the full report and tune in to watch when the Community and Protective Services Committee considers the report on Friday, March 26. Members of the public can provide written submissions and can also speak for up to five minutes at the meeting. Those interested should refer to the process outlined as Annex A of the agenda.

Quotes:

“The Women and Gender Equity Strategy confirms Council’s commitment to advancing equity and inclusion so that everyone, regardless of their gender, age, abilities, religion, race or income, can fully take part in all aspects of life in Ottawa. I would like to thank Councillor Kavanagh, our City’s first Council Liaison for Women and Gender Equity, and all the members of Council and staff on the Sponsors Group who have championed this initiative.”
Mayor Jim Watson

“I am proud of this strategy – it is a significant step forward in our continued efforts to ensure equity for women and gender diverse people in Ottawa. I would like to extend a special thanks to all the residents who joined our consultations and made their voices heard – you have helped set us on the path to building a truly inclusive city.”
Councillor Theresa Kavanagh, Liaison for Women and Gender Equity

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