The Honourable Maryam Monsef is Canada’s Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality, and the Member of Parliament for Peterborough—Kawartha. She is 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.
As Minister for Women and Gender Equality, she has been a part of a transformative period for gender equality in Canada. She led Status of Women Canada’s transition from an agency to the new Department for Women and Gender Equality, and has secured precedent-setting investments in Canada’s equality-seeking movement, including over $200 million to support Canada’s first-ever federal strategy to prevent and address gender-based violence. Minister Monsef was also instrumental in launching a historic fund of $100 million specifically to support the sustainability of the women’s movement by investing in capacity-building for women’s organizations across Canada.
She has worked with the Minister of Finance to ensure that all federal budgets 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 continues the government’s work to advance the rights of women and girls abroad through Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.
Recognized by Apolitical as one of the Top 20 Most Influential People in Gender Policy for the past two years, Minister Monsef has helped to shape the conversation about gender equality on the global stage. She helped lead Canada’s efforts to mainstream gender equality and Gender-based Analysis Plus into all G7 work, including during its presidency last year, as well as oversaw the activities of Canada’s G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council. She has led the Canadian delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women for the past three years, represented Canada at the World Bank, and was instrumental in bringing discussions of gender equality to the table at the World Economic Forum.
She has always been committed to giving back to her community and her country. In her home community of Peterborough, Ontario, she founded the Red Pashmina Campaign, which raised money to support education for women and girls in Afghanistan. She is an alumna of Trent University, and speaks English, Farsi and Dari.