Vancouver approves new Women's Equity Strategy
Vancouver's skyline at sunrise is shown in this undated handout photo. Vancouver has been placed on travel site Lonely Planet's top ten list of cities to visit in 2020. (Destination BC/Albert Normandin via The Canadian Press)
City Council approved its updated Women’s Equity Strategy on Wednesday, vowing to focus on five key areas to make Vancouver a better city for women.
The updated strategy, titled Vancouver: A City for All Women, is a blueprint for 2018-2028 that follows the city’s original Gender Equality Strategy from 2005.
The new strategy focuses on five priority areas: looking at city processes from the perspectives of women from all backgrounds; addressing safety and violence against women; accessible, quality childcare; safe and affordable housing; and women’s leadership and representation.
“I think this report puts the first things first, an intersectional lens on all departments,” said Ellen Woodsworth, a former city councilor and chair of Women Transforming Cities.
According to a release from the city, the strategy was welcomed by community groups and supported by 15 speakers at council.
“We know that if we want to achieve true gender parity, where women are involved in the decisions that affect their lives, there is still much to be done," said Tina Strehlke, interim CEO of Minerva BC. The non-profit provides leadership development programs for women and girls, and works with other organizations to advance gender parity in B.C.
“I am happy that this strategy is well placed to make progress in crucial areas that impact people on a daily basis,” she said.
Women Transforming Cities, Woodsworth’s organization, hosted a workshop in advance of the council meeting to teach people how to have their voice heard at council.
Woodsworth herself asked for a city-wide strategy addressing violence against women at the meeting, and said she was pleased when the mayor’s office was receptive.
Vancouver has now joined London, England, another city with a gender equity strategy. London Mayor Sadiq Khan launched a new campaign this year called #BehindEveryGreatCity for the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage there.
“I think what it’s showing is that women are rising up all over the world,” Woodsworth said.
She also encouraged women to think about putting their names forward in Vancouver’s municipal election this October, stressing the importance of having diverse women in leadership positions.