Gender equality: Cornerstone of effective development

At its root, poverty is caused by unequal power relations that result in the inequitable distribution of resources and opportunities between women and men, between power-holders and marginalized communities, and between countries. CARE believes that poverty cannot be overcome without addressing those underlying power imbalances.

A feminist foreign policy means fostering long-term change in social norms and attitudes.

The more people of all genders enjoy equal rights, the more a country is likely to be peaceful, resilient and prosperous.

Canada has a tradition of championing gender equality, both in its own policies and in its international diplomacy. Yet we have not always kept pace with the global gender equality conversation. Today, in the context of the 2030 Global Agenda for Sustainable Development, Canada can reclaim a position of leadership in the promotion of gender equality worldwide.

Download CARE Canada's Gender equality policy brief [PDF]


The following recommendations are aimed at strengthening the structures, capacities, policies and financing that will allow the Government of Canada to establish a truly transformative, feminist foreign policy.

  1. The Government of Canada should establish gender equality as a development goal in and of itself, while ensuring gender equality is reflected in all its international assistance policies and programs.

  2. The Government of Canada should invest in long-term, iterative, participatory and holistic programs aimed at changing social norms, attitudes and behaviours.

  3. The Government of Canada should strengthen its capacity for, and accountability to, gender transformation by:

    a.    Using the objectives set out in the 1999 Gender Equality Policy Statement as the basis of a framework for structuring funding and measuring results across Global Affairs Canada; and,

    b.    Integrating gender-specific and gender equality impact goals at the highest levels of Global Affairs Canada’s monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning (MEAL) systems, and clearly linking results to OECD DAC codes.

  4. The Government of Canada should meet or exceed international targets for funding programs where gender equality is the principal objective, including by earmarking a proportion of its funding for women’s rights and LGBTQ rights organizations and requiring INGOs to direct resources to such organizations.