Karina Gould is Minister of International Development at the Government of Canada, Member of Parliament for Burlington city in Ontario, and Co-Chair of the COVAX Advance Market Commitment Engagement Group. She also represents the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition on Feminist Movements and Leadership, working to develop catalytic actions and commitments to advance gender equality. Gould’s action priority is ensuring that feminist leaders, movements and organizations are supported to carry out their work without fear of reprisal.
Why did the Government of Canada sign-up to play a leadership role in the Generation Equality Action Coalitions?
“What is so exciting about the Generation Equality Forum is that it’s not just a three-day conference, it’s a five-year agenda that asks us to actually commit and take action to achieve gender equality.”
Firstly, because we recognize how key the voices of feminist movements and feminist leaders are to advancing gender equality. Feminist organizations are on the frontlines in their communities as we have seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They have been supporting the poorest and most vulnerable, fighting and advocating to ensure that those dependent on services, such as women’s shelters, continue to have access. These are the people on the ground who are making change happen on a day-to-day basis, and we must support them.
Secondly, we see challenges and barriers to feminist movements and leadership that we want to help mitigate through our leadership role. A big challenge is funding. Less than 1 per cent of all gender-focused aid goes towards feminist organizations – we simply need more. Another serious challenge is the pushback against gender equality around the world. This makes supporting civil society and developing allyship and solidarity across countries even more important. The Action Coalition agenda is critical to ensure that we tackle these barriers and see real gains and progress.
What actions are you most excited to stand behind to advance and grow feminist movements?
Canada has invested CAD 300 million in the Equality Fund, which is a unique partnership between civil society, philanthropy and the private sector, providing long-term sustainable funding to women’s rights and feminist organizations around the world. We were really excited to see the Ford Foundation’s commitment to the Equality Fund at the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico and we hope that other donors will step up to support this important work.