Prime Minister Trudeau speaks about gender equality and women's empowerment in Addis Ababa
Thank you for the chance to participate in the launch of the African Women’s Leadership Fund. It is really inspiring to be surrounded by so many leaders who’ve done so much to advance gender equality and human rights here on the continent and around the world. This is crucial work -- work that benefits not only women and girls, but entire countries. Advancing gender equality is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. You know the facts, you’ve seen the research, you’ve witnessed the results. In 2018, Ethiopia became the latest country to appoint a gender-balanced cabinet with 10 women taking on key portfolios like defence, trade and transport.
Increasing the participation of women across all sectors leads to better outcomes. Not just for women themselves, but for our businesses, our communities, our economies. As I have seen directly within my own Cabinet, having more women in leadership positions leads to better decisions. And that’s why our government has made advancing gender equality a priority at home and abroad.
We have introduced a Feminist International Assistance Policy, which is aimed at eliminating poverty and building a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world. We have also created the Equality Fund, which is aimed at reducing funding gaps for women’s agencies by ensuring long-term independent funding.
Many of you in this room have been working to promote gender equality for decades. African women, many leaders in this room, have been at the forefront of this fight since the beginning. But we know there is more work to be done so long as women are denied opportunities just because they are women.
That’s why Canada has been working with like-minded partners and leading experts to help move this agenda forward. It’s why we chose to make gender equality and women’s empowerment a core theme of our G7 presidency two years ago; a theme that has continued to engage the international community at those levels. Under our G7 presidency, we mobilized a historic investment of $4.3 billion for women’s and girls’ education in crisis or conflict situations.
We have also set up the Gender Equality Advisory Council, the mandate of which is to integrate gender equality into the Summit issues, activities and results.
That was really important to me for our G7, not just that we have a session on women’s equality, because those come up every now and then in various organizations; no, we made women’s empowerment a horizontal priority through every single theme and discussion we had at the G7 that year, whether it was economics, security, health, oceans, women are involved in everything and as we all know, women are often the solutions to everything.
In 2018 we set up the Elsie Initiative to include more women in UN peacekeeping missions. Thanks to the partnership of countries like Senegal, Ghana, and South Africa, we’re making meaningful progress. We’re committed to continuing this work and understand the leading role our African partners are playing.
Today, as part of Canada’s increased support to the African Union, I’m pleased to announce that we will provide $10 million to help build the capacity of the African Union Commission to advance gender equality.
This will support the African Union’s important work on priorities like economic development, trade and investment, regional integration, and peace and security. 2020 is a big year for gender equality, but while we mark important anniversaries and celebrate progress, we cannot lose sight of the work that lies ahead. We cannot take for granted what we have achieved, and instead we must vow to redouble our efforts. Achieving gender equality both at home and abroad must be the business of every nation, of every person, regardless of gender. If we are to empower women; men need to be allies willing to share and fight alongside women for gender equality and opportunities for everyone.
Because we all know this; no country can reach its full potential without the full participation of all of its citizens. That’s why Canada has stepped up as your partner, your friend in this fight, and will continue to stand alongside you.
Once again, thank you all for the opportunity to be with you here today.
Thank you dear friends.