Five pillars Ottawa studied as part of its gender-budgeting exercise
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OTTAWA — The Liberal government is preparing to table the first federal budget to scrutinize all its commitments with a gender-equality microscope.
To get there, Finance Minister Bill Morneau was presented with many options on how best to subject his fiscal plan to a gender-based analysis.
The Canadian Press obtained a briefing note that lays out the choices — a "proposed gender-equality framework" — that were presented to Morneau last August.
A senior government official described the memo as an early take on the potential pillars that could be part of the Feb. 27 budget. The federal gender-budgeting blueprint has since evolved in recent months following consultations with experts, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss matters not yet made public.
The confidential document, obtained through the Access to Information Act, recommends "strategic objectives," presents ways they can be measured over time and provides an assessment of how Canada has performed in each area.
Here's a rundown of the proposed strategic objectives and some of the key indicators that could be used to gauge the government's progress:
— Equal opportunities in education and skills development: The aim is to ensure different groups of women, men, girls and boys benefit from the same opportunities and conditions in terms of education, field of study choices and personal development. There are considerable gender disparities when it comes to career paths, the memo notes, with young women disproportionately represented in health and education fields. By comparison, a far greater proportion of young men are drawn to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). That gender-specific divide in educational choices has far-reaching impacts on occupational and industrial segregation in the labour market as well as the income gap between women and men, it continues.
— Economic equality: The goal is to make sure women and men have the same options and circumstances when it comes to quality jobs and the distribution of unpaid housework and care-giving work. The document says Canadian women are among the most educated in the world, yet they earn on average about 23 per cent less than men. It represents one of biggest gender earnings gaps among OECD countries. Women spend more of their time than men on unpaid work and their career advancement is greatly affected by parenthood, the note says.
— Equal opportunities in leadership and economic influence: The objective focuses on enabling men and women to have the same playing field when it comes to advancing their careers and participating in all levels of decision-making. The memo says despite increasing education levels and growing workforce participation among women, they only hold 26 per cent of senior management positions in the private sector.
— Ensuring physical and emotional security: The goal is to ensure women, girls and boys all have rights to dignity, integrity and the right to be safe from physical and emotional harm. Women, the document says, are at a higher risk of certain types of violence, including sexual offences.
— Fighting poverty and promoting equal health and well-being: The objective is for women, men, girls and boys to have the same support and opportunities to make ends meet and to maintain healthy lifestyles. The memo notes how, for example, single mothers and recent immigrants are at a higher risk of living in poverty.