They have a prime minister who has declared he will keep saying he’s a feminist until people stop reacting when he says it.
It’s a country where breastfeeding in public is not only normalized but codified by law. And their paid maternity leave lasts a year.
Yet it was an announcement made at the She Decides conference in Brussels this morning that put Canada at No. 1 for feminism in the world right now.
World leaders are gathered in Brussels to plug the shortfall of funding left by the Trump administration’s recent “Global Gag Rule” and Canada just announced it would be donating $20 million to the She Decides fund.
The “Global Gag Rule” is a policy which strips federal funding from organizations on the basis that they provide access to, or advice on abortions. Regardless of whether the aid would actually go towards abortions.
The rule has been routinely reinstated under Republican governments since Ronald Reagan. Yet under Trump it has found its most extreme form. This time, rather than simply pulling funding from family planning groups, it also halts all financial assistance going to any health organizations connected to abortion. Which means that a vast array of companies that provide women’s vital health services from cervical cancer screenings to immunizations will be forced to scale back and even shut down.
Which is why the Dutch government immediately erected the She Decides initiative to rally funds for the $600 million funding gap for women’s health.
Norway and the Netherlands have already pledged to the tune of €10 million each but Canada’s commitment is the highest yet.
Really, it should come as no surprise given Canada’s track record of supporting women: Trudeau’s cabinet is staffed with equal numbers of men and women for the first time in its history.
He also stated that the country’s $120 million support for the Global Fund to Fight TB, AIDS and Malaria would largely go toward helping the majority of women affected by the issues, because, he said, “poverty is sexist.”
And today we are one step closer to overturning the sexist effects of the “Global Gag Rule” thanks to the thousands of Global Citizens who tweeted and petitioned on behalf of women and girls everywhere — and thanks to Canada, Norway and Netherlands for answering our collective call.
We are one step closer to saving the lives of the nearly 2.5 million mothers and babies who are at risk until the fund is filled. Take action today and tell your leaders that women’s health is something #SheDecides.