Gender Equality Week 2020

As economist Armine Yalnizyan has said, “No recovery without she-covery. No she-covery without child care.”

Ottawa (21 Sept. 2020) — Today marks the start of Gender Equality Week in Canada.

Gender Equality Week was legislated in June 2018, designated as the 4th week in September. It is a time to celebrate advancements on gender equality, take stock of where we must go from here, and recommit ourselves to tackling sexism and misogyny.

Gendered impacts of the pandemic

This year, we cannot help but think of gender equality in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has had extremely uneven impacts, exposing existing gaps and inequities in our society. One of the clearest examples has been the gendered nature of this crisis.

NUPGE has reported here on the gendered impacts of the pandemic. The long list includes the high rates of job loss and financial stress, the demands of informal and unpaid caregiving, the high exposure to COVID-19, as it is predominantly women workers on the front-lines of the pandemic, and the increased risk of gender-based violence, including domestic violence.

We need a she-covery

Given the deeply rooted inequities exposed and exacerbated by the pandemic, there is no excuse to leave gender equality out of the pandemic recovery.  

Economist Armine Yalnizyan has, now famously, called for a “she-covery.” The now widely used term signals the need for the recovery process to be deliberately feminist. NUPGE has echoed this call, arguing that a true post-pandemic recovery will be one that deliberately addresses fundamental gender inequities and — finally — resolves them.

Time for meaningful action on child care

We know that child care will be an essential piece of this puzzle. As Yalnizyan said, “No recovery without she-covery. No she-covery without child care.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges for all parents, but it has disproportionately impacted working women. Research has shown that women’s labour force participation dramatically declined — and did so more than men’s — in the early months of the pandemic, undoing decades of progress.

Early childhood educators and child care workers, the vast majority of which are women, have once again proven themselves essential, and yet they are chronically underpaid, undervalued, and precariously employed. This must change.

NUPGE believes that now is the time for a universally accessible, publicly funded, not-for-profit, high-quality child care system that fairly compensates its workers and enhances unionization.

During this Gender Equality Week, NUPGE renews its commitment to keep up the fight for gender equality.