toronto gender equity office

Toronto might be getting a gender equity office

As progressive as Toronto may seem, social issues that stem from gender inequity remain prevalent. 

To combat this, the city is moving closer to the creation of a gender equity strategy and gender equality office.

A report by Toronto's chief people officer Omo Akintan will be presented to Mayor John Tory's executive committee meeting on Wednesday, and it outlines exactly why we need a gender-focused strategy in the city and how it will be implemented. 

The report highlights the fact that women, girls, trans and non-binary individuals make up more than 52 per cent of Toronto’s population. 

But despite making up more than half of the people in this city, these groups face much higher rates of violence and poverty, and are often underrepresented in leadership positions. 

Specifically, women working in Toronto currently earn just over 78 cents to a man's dollar, more than 20 per cent of women in the city are low-income, women hold only 31 per cent of positions on city council, and the list goes on. 

The strategy and office would seek to address gender inequities in areas such as housing, shelter, governance, transit planning, recreation, urban planning, youth, violence against women, affordable child care and budgeting.

"A Gender Equity Strategy would demonstrate the City of Toronto's commitment to eliminating intersectional gender inequities experienced by Torontonians, allow for the development of new partnerships to shift the landscape, and track progress on reducing and/or eliminating gender inequities in the city, while ensuring public transparency and accountability," the report states.

"Addressing intersectional gender inequities in City of Toronto programs, service delivery, outcomes and workforce initiatives will help to decrease inequities experienced by diverse women, girls, trans and non-binary people in the City of Toronto."

According to the CBC, Tory plans to back the proposal at tomorrow's meeting. 

If it proceeds to city council on October 2 and is eventually approved, a gender equity unit within the People and Equity Division will be created and cost $333,132 for 2020. 

The cost would be included in the 2020 Operating Budget, which is subject to approval by city council.

Council originally directed city staff to work on the idea for the office in July 2018, and soon it may become a reality. 

"Gender inequities exist in Toronto as evidenced by research and the experiences of diverse women, girls, trans and non-binary people," the report states. 

"The City of Toronto has some initiatives currently underway that are addressing gender equity. In order to develop an overarching Gender Equity Strategy, however, requires a dedicated Gender Equity Unit."

Lead photo by

Ilona


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