Canada has also been in the forefront in advancing women rights. It set international standards for eliminating gender discrimination by being among the first countries to ratify.
Gender equality has been a household and political topic of discussion in the last 25 years. Majority of feminists and gender equality activist have been using efficiency arguments to elaborate the benefits of equally involving women in economic, social and political aspects of the country (Berik, 2017, pg. 543). This includes improved corporate performance, development goals and economic growth. Questions have however been raised about whether efficiency goals and gender equality are compatible. For example, research by Razavi (2017) and Esquivel (2017) showed that gender inequality when it comes to wages may be good for economic growth as gender equality and growth are to some extend incompatible. Doss (2017), while arguing against the use of efficiency argument to promote gender equality, argues that low-income countries which is depended on agriculture have proved that men are more efficient in using resources than women and their giving women equal resources as men will likely lead to inefficiency.
With the view of this, Canadian feminists and gender equality activists have been able to make several huge steps towards gender equality. Justin Trudeau showed the recent example of steps towards gender equality, the prime minister whom a self-declared feminist. In his 2015 cabinet, Trudeau gave an equal number of cabinet positions to men and women; an action was applauded across the world (Frisk, 2015). On the side of education, the number of learned women is more than that of men. In every graduation, women make up 60% on average (Racco, 2017). On corporate governance, women have also increasingly been represented. For example, in 2015, women occupied 12% board seats of the publicly traded companies. Of these companies, 29% reported having at least one female director. In regards to wage inequality, Canada has also made a step to reduce the wage gap that exists between male workers and female workers. A male in Canada now earns an average of $40 000 while a female worker earns an average annual income of $35 041. It is estimated that it will take Canada forty-seven years to bridge this gap while it will take other countries 118 years on average to bridge their gender wage gaps.
Despite so much progress over the years, there still much work to do to attain full gender equality in the country. Women are still economically, politically and socially sidelined in Canada. Income inequality is among the leading inequality as shown by the wage gap between genders. The income inequality and discrimination is also indicated by the fact that those who engage in illegitimate economic activities such as prostitution are majorly women. According to Fedec (2002), women engage in prostitution because they are in poverty and underprivileged. Another aspect that shows that Canada still has some level of gender inequality is an underrepresentation of women in politics, and corporate leadership (Brodie, Bakker, & Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 2008). With the ambitious government policies in place and legislation, the push for gender is likely to noticed.
Indeed, the Canadian society has made a lot of progress when it comes to gender equality over the years. However, we should not forget the possible challenges that Canada may face in future. The achievements of women in education have led to tremendous progress in terms of gender equality. There are also challenges is the aspect of economic dependence. In Canada, there is a very large number of single parent homes that are meanly headed by women who in most cases are living in poverty. Basically, this shows that in the coming years, the issue of gender inequality will not be solely raised at the Canadian workplace but will be brought down to the household. This will form the next fight for gender equality and it will need the involvement of both the men and women of Canada. Despite the many strides made in the fight for gender equality in Canada, all the stakeholders need to be aware of the impending challenges. This therefore calls for the stakeholders to come up with ways of mitigating in order to make the fight for gender equality a success rather than a crisis.
Canada’s push for gender equality has over the years given positive fruits. The country can be said to have made enormous steps in realizing economic, political and social gender equality. It is, however, noting that these changes were not accomplished in a day; it was a process which involved struggle and sacrifice. Among the many initiatives and policies in place include gender equality and empowerment of women and girls, women, peace and security, elimination of violence against women, early forced marriages, sexual health as well as reproductive health. In addition to the laws and government policies, corporate Canada needs to change their conservative ways of hiring to absorb the many competent and talented women who are getting out of schools. Women also need to empower themselves and take advantage of the many opportunities presented by the current social, economic and political environment.