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Gender Equality Mainstreaming Digest – January 2018 Issue

Here are the highlights of this month’s Gender Equality Mainstreaming Digest! Click HERE for the full version.

Canadian winter scene. Image courtesy of D. Ceplis.


Opportunities and Upcoming Events:

Canadian Fair Trade Network Conference – The 6th annual CFTN conference takes place in Vancouver on March 2 to 4, 2018, with pre-conference tours to Ethical Bean Coffee and Discovery Organics on March 1. Program topics include Supply Chains, the Sustainable Development Goals, Climate Justice, and Gender and Canada’s Newly Launched Feminist International Assistance Policy.

Early Career Women Scientists Fellowships Programme – A new partnership with UNESCO’s Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) will broaden support for early career women scientists in the developing world by empowering them to become leaders in STEM fields and role models for the next generation of female scientists.

Jointly funded by IDRC and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, this CA$15 million fellowship program will support 140 doctoral and 60 early career women scientists in STEM in low and middle-income countries.

The first call for applications will be published in March 2018 and the first cohort of 20 fellows will be announced by October 2018.

“Women Deliver” Global Conference to Advance Gender Equality – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada will serve as host city for #WD2019, the world’s largest conference on gender equality from June 3 – 6, 2019. This exciting event will bring over 6,000 world leaders, influencers, advocates, academics, activists, and journalists from more than 160 countries to Vancouver to generate action.

See the infographics at

This Month’s News:

Newly unveiled research chairs take aim at diversity gap in Canadian science – A neuroscientist who studies the biological basis of memory and imagination, a cell biologist who focuses on gene expression in the developing embryo, a computer scientist whose interests include the application of technology to health care and a mathematician who analyzes the interactions and evolution of disease-causing pathogens.

All four scientists, three of whom are women, will take up positions in Canadian universities next year as the first batch of Canada 150 Research Chairs, federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan announced in Ottawa on December 13, 2017. The hiring initiative, rapidly rolled out earlier this year, was framed by the government as an opportunity to capture academic talent with a nod to diversity at a time when Canada is looking increasingly more appealing to many researchers in the United States and beyond.

While the initiative was under way, Ms. Duncan had stressed the need for a diverse range of candidates. In contrast, Canada Excellence Research Chairs, another high-profile initiative launched with a similar goal of attracting international talent to Canadian universities, led to an overwhelmingly male cohort of researchers. The Canada 150 program was aimed at a wider range of disciplines and allowed universities to compete for both established and emerging researchers.

Senator Diane Griffin to chair Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry – Senator Diane Griffin of Prince Edward Island was recently elected as the chairwoman of the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry. The mandate of the committee is to examine legislation and to study issues related to agriculture and forestry. The committee has produced substantive reports on issues as diverse as bee health, bovine tuberculosis and rural poverty.

The New Era of Canadian Feminist Foreign Policy – The announcement of Canada’s second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (the C-NAP) on November 1 came with much excitement and fanfare. In Canada, it seems that to be a feminist and to enact policy based in feminist theory and research is becoming increasingly more visible at the highest levels of government.
For all its feminist-informed improvements, the new C-NAP cannot escape scrutiny. It is important to ask how truly feminist this new plan is, as Rachel Vincent of the Nobel Women’s Initiative has recently done, and to maintain a critical feminist skepticism of the document and implementation tools going forward. This more feminist government is willing to use feminist language in the C-NAP, which is certainly a positive improvement, but will we see the same feminist analysis applied to international peace and security issues?

Increasing the number of women peacekeepers and ending the use of rape and sexual violence as tools of war are only the most visible pieces of what should be a broader feminist solution to peace and security issues. A feminist solution should include demilitarization and conflict prevention work, financial investment in grassroots women’s organizations, and gender training that disrupts traditional lines of gendered thinking. Ultimately, it should divest us from enacting military solutions to conflict alone.

As of today, the C-NAP appears ready to implement real feminist change in international peace and security issues, but it remains to be seen how this implementation will unfold.

Reports Publications and Resources:

Announcing a New Video Series – House of Women Scientists – The Prairie NSERC CWSE team is excited to announce the release of their new series of videos: House of Women Scientists! The video series celebrates the research of women who are undergraduate or graduate students in science and also highlights ways in which these students have experienced changes in their lives. Each video centers around the experiences of a different student, and gives voice to her identity, uncertainty, transition, and growth while progressing in her career. While each experience is unique – from one student being the first in her family to pursue higher education abroad to another student choosing to become a mother while enrolled in a Ph.D. program – all videos have in common the resilience, adaptability and passion for science that all students share. The videos are all available to view on the CWSE-Prairies website so please check out the inspiration videos of students Taylor Morriseau, Amarawansha Eragoda Arachchilage, Anita Murdock, Sirajum Munira, and Marufa Fatema.

New book chapter addresses the links between gender, climate change and agriculture – In the recently published Climate-Smart Agriculture Manual, a chapter titled “Gender and Social Inclusion,” authored by Dr. Sophia Huyer and Dr. Mary Nyasimi, both with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), examines gender and climate change, and offers recommendations for mainstreaming gender in policy and climate-smart agriculture (CSA) activities in Zimbabwe.

The chapter offers a number of recommendations for integrating the needs of women, and other marginalized groups, into climate change policies and practices.

Sex, Rights, Gender in the Age of Climate ChangeExcerpts from this report:

Our partners’ studies have shown that climate change has a direct impact on young girls dropping out or being taken out of schools. Partners in Nepal (WOREC) and the Philippines (PATH Foundation) reported that when climate extreme events happen often times young girls are among the first to be affected to the extent that they are forced to drop out of school. The increasing workload in the household and economic hardship experienced by the family would cause parents to withdraw their daughters from schools so that they could either help out at home or in the farm, or to find a job to supplement the household’s income. This in turn limits their future prospects and hinders their empowerment, including learning to take care of their health and hygiene.

Extreme climate events can exacerbate the phenomenon of early marriage for girls. Aggravated by poverty, early marriages occur during extreme events as a coping strategy adopted by poor families. Our partners in Bangladesh (Sindh Community Foundation) and Nepal (WOREC) found in their studies that families are practising child marriage among their young daughters as means to escape poverty brought about by climate change.

Climate change also induces other health-related phenomena. Climate extreme events increase the risk of undernutrition among girls. During climate change, food crop yield would be greatly affected thus leading to price hike in food. Food within the household is reduced, and in many developing countries, there is a gender bias in the allocation of food within the household.

Women faced sexual harassment or sexual violence while carrying out their daily routines such as fetching water, firewood and food as reported by our partners from Bangladesh (Khan Foundation) and Indonesia (Yayasan Jurnal Perempuan). During climate change, they are at higher risk of gender-based violence since they have to walk further and often to unfamiliar territories to accomplish their daily tasks.

Climate change also forces community members to migrate. Generally, migration happens due to the many “push factors” (conflict, poverty, land access, and ethnicity) and “pull factors” (development, livelihoods, seasonal labour, kinship, and access to health or services). As a result, countries are “slow to recognise the role of climate change as an additional push factor, and the level to which it is driving migration.”