Women and marginalized communities critical to economic recovery in Canada
An economic recovery plan for Canada underscores the need for the country to look after women and its most marginalized people if it expects to bounce back.
The study, out of The Institute for Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto and the YWCA Canada, is billed as "A Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for Canada."
It underscores the importance of focusing on women, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people, members of the LGBTQ+ communities, people with disabilities, low-income people, migrants and refugees, all of whom have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
"More than half of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Canada have been experienced by women," the paper reads, "yet at the same time women have faced disproportionate job loss, an increase in domestic violence due to lockdowns and an intensification in unpaid work."
Their report notes that the employment rate has fallen twice as much for Canadian women aged 25 to 54 compared to men.
Maya Roy, CEO of YWCA Canada, says things can't go back to normal. The pandemic calls for a new way.
"We are seeing we can't go back to the old ways of doing things," she said in a news release. "We need a fresh approach that thinks about the economy and gender equity together."
"Our plan offers a roadmap and a starting point for action."
This plan prompts politicians and change-makers to pay attention to the unique needs and experiences of marginalized communities, including Black, Indigenous and other racialized demographics.
These changes involve addressing systemic racism, investing in small businesses, and diversifying the voices included in decision-making processes. They also suggest updating employment legislation, such as adding 14 sick days and paid family leave to workers.
Things like access to clean water, reliable internet and affordable housing in Canada also need to be improved, the report says.
"If we look at the impact from a health and economic standpoint, it is disproportionately on those with intersecting identities," Sarah Kaplan, an executive lead on the report, said in the release. "You wouldn't be able to have an economic recovery without paying attention to who is impacted and why."
"We actually won't get economic recovery if we don't get to things that are holding women back," Kaplan continued.
"COVID-19 has not been the great equalizer, it has been the great revealer of existing inequalities."
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