Intervention with the Prime Minister of Canada

By: Peggy Chen, YWCA of Canada

Your excellencies, Hon Ministers, Mme Phumzile and all other leaders in the room, and my fellow young people, I STAND before you as a 23-year-old young woman who is privileged and honoured to be given the opportunity to address you today. I am privileged to have had an education and grew up in a supportive environment.  I work full time at my local YWCA in Canada yet I worry everyday about my future, and the future of all women around me.

I worry that if I choose to have children one day, it will put me behind my male-counterparts in leadershi12841186_10153439163102011_6795993270159376443_op positions.

In Canada, women on average earn 72 cents for every dollar earned by men. As a developed country, known for freedom and progression, this worries me, as I continuously struggle to reconcile that freedom and the realities that I face as a young woman.

I worry for marginalized communities, including seniors like my grandparents, immigrants like my family, youth transitioning out of foster care, single parents, and Indigenous peoples, who already face barriers, and need to work twice as hard to even earn equal pay.

During the Youth CSW Forum convened by Wo
rld YWCA and UNWomen 3 days ago (Thank you Madam Phumzile for the support), I had the opportunity to listen and speak with many young women and youth from around the world, and understand issues they face surrounding gender inequality. It is sad to say that young women are marginalized in a progressive country like ours, Canada. Girls around the world are kept out of school and even in Canada we have gender inequality.

We therefore recommend the following:

  • We need affordable child care so that we, as young women have support when we want to return to the workforce.
  • We need paternity leave policies to be implemented in private and public workplaces so men can take an equal role in parental leaves
  • Gender norms need to be challenged so we do not continue to normalize the effects of gender inequality
  • There is need for more funding to women’s organisations to serve marginalized groups

Decent Work and equal pay is necessary to sustain economic growth, through factors such as poverty alleviation, increased labour force participation, and quality education.

We look forward to a future where both genders are equal, and everyone is paid the value they deserve.

I thank you.

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