All of Equitas’ international projects consider gender equality through an intersectional approach and integrate gender-based analysis. Equitas has a specific project dedicated to gender equality on the international level, Advancing Equality through Human Rights Education.
Discrimination and violence against women and girls are widespread, deep-rooted, and prevalent in many parts of the world.
Gender inequalities are also exacerbated when compounded by the effects of poverty, marginalization, and discrimination based on other grounds such as race, ethnic and religious identity, disability, age, class, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other marginalized identity. Through Advancing Equality through Human Rights Education, Equitas works in partnership with local organizations in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Haiti, Senegal and Tanzania to contribute to the empowerment of women and girls by providing them with the tools and knowledge to promote gender equality in their communities and around the world. Equitas strengthens women’s leadership through community mobilization activities for women and men that promote gender equality. Our work helps to strengthen collaboration between women’s organizations and human rights organizations, and to encourage decision-makers to respect their obligations related to gender equality. To achieve these objectives, we focus particularly on issues such as:
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The Advancing Equality through Human Rights Education project is funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.
Play it Fair! is a program that has proven value for children aged 6 to 12 across Canada. In addition to promoting inclusion and living together in harmony, this program allows children to develop inter-personal skills such as self-expression, self-confidence, communication, and group work. Play it Fair! also seeks to promote harmonious intercultural relationships and diversity while also reinforcing the importance of inclusion in our communities by supporting community organizations and schools who welcome refugees and new arrivals to Canada. In November 2018, we brought 25 people from 16 different Canadian organizations together for a nation-wide Community of Practice. In order to promote the inclusion of young refugees and children who are new arrivals to Canada, one of the work groups involved in this initiative modeled itself on the Play it Fair! approach. This ensured that their organizations, which fostered a deeper respect for diversity in over 100 children from Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia, were safe, welcoming, and inclusive spaces.
Thanks to Equitas’ transformative youth programs, steps are taken each day around the country to build more equitable and inclusive communities. This year, thanks to the support of the Inclusion Fund, we had the opportunity to expand our youth programs to Quebec City. Equitas is proud to be partnered with 10 organizations in Quebec that play an active role in their community and seek to widen the impact of change in 12 community centers and schools. We achieved this change by launching 6 Community Action Projects this year that deepen inter-cultural understanding, promote youth leadership, and encourage dialogue about issues that affect the respect for diversity.
The Speaking Rights program is recognized around the country for its transformative effect on young Canadians from different backgrounds. Youth engage their communities and continuously break barriers by engaging in Community Action Projects that address the issues that directly affect them: racism, violence, bullying, etc. This year, the program allowed us to reach out to over 3,330 young people from 27 of Equitas’ partner organizations and support 24 Community Action Projects in 32 communities across the country. These youth-focused projects are opportunities for them to shine by promoting human rights and the values that are associated with them. Whether these projects take the form of spaces that foster sharing and discussion or platforms for free expression, they all reinforce young peoples’ ability to act by teaching them useful skills that will allow them to become the leaders of today and tomorrow.
One of these Community Action Projects was the Rural Youth Reconciliation Initiative, where youth from Equitas’ national partner, Canadian Roots Exchange, created teams of Indigenous and non-Indigenous rural youth leaders aged 18-29 who worked together over 3 months to plan and implement community building initiatives. The teams in Lloydminster, Alberta, Kamloops, British Columbia, and Kangirsuk, Quebec completed a 4-day training outside of Montreal supported by Equitas.
“Being in this safe space and having outside organizations such as Equitas as allies, really helped me boost my confidence in this project. In addition, this experience has taught me the importance of youth creating opportunities for other youth and viewing each other as a community!”
– Speaking Rights participant from Toronto
Terminology affects how we view the world, so using masculine pronouns by default reinforces socio-cultural gender divisions. Equitas created a Gender and Sexual Identity Lexicon, as well as a User Guide for Inclusive Language to standardize use of gender inclusive language within projects and programs and to ensure our communications reflect our worldview.
At the inception phase of each of our programs, we conduct a baseline analysis to better understand which barriers prevent women, girls and other marginalized groups from fully participating in their communities. To address these barriers, we strive for equal representation of women and men in program activities, while ensuring that women’s specific needs are being taken into account in decision making and project design.
The persistence and prevalence of discrimination and sexism in the daily lives of women is undeniable. Many women are victims of the cross-cutting effects of discrimination, based on their race, ethnic and religious identity, disability, age, class, and/or sexual orientation. Working to advance gender equality, we always consider intersectionality and ensure the most marginalized can fully participate in our programs.
Too often, women speak exclusively with other women about the inequalities they face, and in general, men speak about it far too little. Internally, we conduct staffwide discussions and training and develop tools to better integrate gender equality into our work, such as implementing our Gender Equality Action Plan and Gender Policy. Through our programs, we integrate gender equality as a central component in community mobilization and policy dialogues and include not only women but also men in discussions about gender inequality.
Women often miss out on opportunities for many reasons, such as systemic barriers leading to exclusion and marginalization, and internalized socially constructed barriers. To change this, the community initiatives carried out by our project partners focus on increasing political participation of women, promoting spaces for them to participate in activities traditionally reserved for men, increasing access to education for girls and giving visibility to initiatives conducted by women in the community.
“The discussions we had made me realize the tremendous mobilization of the various stakeholders to promote a greater empowerment of the women and girls in this community. ‘’
– Christine St-Pierre, Quebec Minister of International Relations and the Francophonie during her visit of our projects on the participation of women and girls in Senegal
“The [girls] learned a lot about different issues, like hypersexualization, sexism, egalitarian relationships, sexual exploitation, women’s rights. They developed critical thinking and analysis skills regarding these phenomena and then they became agents of change.”
– Youth worker, Montreal, Canada on the Equitas Speaking Rights program
Explore our work that focuses on gender equality and the empowerment of women and young girls in Canada, Senegal, Tanzania, Colombia, Haiti, The Middle-East and North Africa.
Give individuals like Soraya G. in Colombia and Esmeralda Pierre-Jérôme in Haiti the tools they need to take on a leadership role in defending and promoting gender equality in their communities.
Support our projects in Canada equipping young women and girls to be leaders today and tomorrow.
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