In hosting Women Deliver, Canada will bring together activists, organizations, and actors working towards gender equality and women’s empowerment from around the world. Canada has already invested heavily in efforts to bring a gendered perspective to law and policy making. As a global leader advancing gender equality and women’s rights, this conference is a significant moment for Canada to launch a legacy initiative that would empower women and girls to claim and exercise their rights.
As Canada prepares to host the Women Deliver conference, Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, the Canadian Association of Midwives, the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives, and Oxfam Canada have partnered to develop the 3 proposals below to drive progress on sexual and reproductive health and rights in Canada.
Together, we are in the process of meeting with relevant decision-makers to explore interest in the proposals. Widespread cross-movement support for these initiatives will have a significant impact on the success of the initiative and demonstrate unity around priority areas in the realm of sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality, and human rights in Canada.
We are therefore seeking organizational endorsements for this trilogy of proposals.
Commit to universal cost coverage for contraceptives for all as part of a call for a national public drug plan that is universal, public and single-payer, comprehensive safe and effective, accessible and affordable. Such a plan would provide free access to contraceptive methods and over-the-counter emergency contraceptives for all people in Canada, including those who are non-insured. Millions of women across Canada will benefit from this program. Lower income, marginalized and younger women will gain the most.
Develop a national initiative to show support for equal access to high quality sex-ed, raise public awareness, and build capacity on the positive impact on individual health, public health and gender equality. This would inform the public of the crucial role sex-ed plays in advancing gender equality, preventing gender-based violence, preventing bullying, promoting health, and empowering youth. This upstream initiative would empower 5 million young people to claim their right to sex-ed. It would highlight the positive impacts of empowering all children and young people with information about their bodies, their health, consent, healthy relationships, teen and youth dating violence, media literacy, LGBT2QI inclusion, body positivity, and gender equality. It is critical to achieving Canada’s efforts towards preventing and addressing gender-based violence, empowering women and girls, achieving public health goals, addressing rising rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and supporting healthy relationships among young people and creating a culture of consent.
Invest in the growth and sustainability of Indigenous midwifery and therefore, to the return of birth to Indigenous communities across Canada. This is an opportunity for Canada to demonstrate to the world its response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, compliance to the Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and commitment to improve the quality of health services delivered to First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Peoples and to ensuring Indigenous Peoples have control over their health services and programs. Bringing birth back to a community has enormous cultural significance and positive effects in all areas of community health, including for women and their babies.