The Honourable Maryam Monsef is the Member of Parliament for Peterborough—Kawartha, and Canada’s Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality.
After running for Mayor of Peterborough in 2014, she became the first woman to be elected in the federal riding of Peterborough—Kawartha, the first Afghan-Canadian Member of Parliament in Canada’s history, and the first Muslim to serve as a federal Cabinet Minister.
Drawing on her years of experience in community organizing, Minister Monsef has worked with local organizations, including the YWCA of Peterborough and Haliburton Board of Directors, the Ontario Public Interest Research Group, and the New Canadians Centre. She has served as the Vice-President of the YWCA in her riding, and sat on a number of councils and committees dedicated to promoting social and economic justice. She also founded the Red Pashmina Campaign, which raised money to support education for women and girls in Afghanistan.
As Minister for Women and Gender Equality, she has led Status of Women Canada’s transition from agency to the new Department for Women and Gender Equality, and has secured major investments in Canada’s equality-seeking movement, including over $200 million to help prevent and address gender-based violence, and $100 million to build the capacity of women’s organizations from coast to coast to coast. She launched the first-ever federal gender-based violence strategy, has worked with the Minister of Finance to ensure that all federal budgets have to undergo a gender budgeting process; and partnered with the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour and the President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government to create and pass historic proactive pay equity legislation to ensure equal pay for work of equal value in the federally regulated sector.
As a complement to the work she is doing domestically, on March 1, 2019, Minister Monsef took on new responsibilities as Minister of International Development, where she will continue the government’s work to advance the rights of women and girls abroad through Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.
Minister Monsef has lived in Peterborough since 1996, and has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Trent University. She speaks English, Farsi and Dari, and continues to work on her French.