Gender Equality Week 2020

“Because of You”

At CAPE, we take the promotion of gender equality to heart. We believe women and men should enjoy the same benefits, privileges and rights in the workplace. No one should be held back or discriminated against because of their gender.

We also acknowledge that women may find themselves disproportionately affected by situations and crises impacting society, by virtue of the role they often play in their families, communities and society in general. 

This has been clearly evidenced during the COVID-19 pandemic, as extensively covered in a recent article published in the Ottawa Citizen entitled “The women’s pandemic’: How COVID-19 has disproportionately affected women”.   

In April 2020, the United Nations published a policy brief in which it stated that globally “across every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection, the impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated for women and girls”. The situation in Canada is not different.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have become aware that many women working in the federal government are now facing difficult situations, having to juggle work demands and unprecedented and increased family responsibilities. 

We have joined other unions to ask the government to recognize the disparity and show leniency, particularly when it comes to giving access to special paid leave to accommodate employees, many of them women, struggling with those challenges created or worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. And to that effect, we continue to push for more sex-disaggregated statistics and empirical evidence to ground our dialogue with the Treasury Board.

Let’s work together to make sure the pandemic does not cause women to lose all the gains they had made in the workplace in the last decades. 

“Because of you”

The theme this year is #BecauseOfYou to celebrate the activists, advocates and trailblazers who have worked to promote gender equality. 

We can all be gender activists by striving to create a workplace that is fair for everyone. We all have a role to play in removing the challenges and obstacles that prevent women from enjoying equal access to opportunities and from meeting their full potential in the workplace. 

Promoting gender equality is everyone’s responsibility.

About Gender Equality Week

Gender Equality Week is the result of Bill C-309, adopted to “increase awareness of the significant and substantive contributions that Canadian women have made and continue to make to the growth, development, character and identity of Canada”.


Some historic milestones

Women’s rights and gender equality in Canada

  • 1884: Married women’s property rights are legalized; 
  • 1922: All provinces except Quebec have given women the right to vote, only granted to them in Quebec in 1940;
  • 1929: Women are considered “persons” under the law;
  • 1951: The Fair Employment Practices Act and the Female Employees Fair Remuneration Act is passed in Ontario, one step closer toward equality between men and women;
  • 1960: Indigenous women's right to vote
  • 1960s: Over 30% of women aged 20 -30 participate in the Canadian labour force. Those numbers double in the 1970s. In 2012 over 70% of young women participate in the labour force. Today, 70% of mothers with children under five years of age are working. (ref. Canadian Labour Congress);
  • 1971: Paid maternity leave benefits are adopted, thanks to the hard fight of the Canadian labour movement. 

Read more about the rights of women