As COVID-19 continues to threaten lives and livelihoods, YWCA Canada and The Institute for Gender and the Economy (GATE) at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management have released A Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for Canada (tagline: “This is how we make the economy work for everyone”). This plan starts from the start that “There is no recovery if we leave women, Two-Spirit, and gender-diverse people behind.”
The Institute for Gender and the Economy (GATE) at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management promotes an understanding of gender inequalities and how they can be remedied—by people of all genders—in the world of business and, more broadly, in the economy.
YWCA Canada is a leading voice for women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people. For 150 years, they’ve been at the forefront of
a movement: to fight gender-based violence, build affordable housing, as well as advocate for workplace equity. YWCA also works to advance gender equity by responding to urgent needs in communities, through national advocacy and grassroots initiatives.
A Feminist Recovery Plan for All Genders
Above all, the plan notes that women, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people are at the forefront of Canada’s pandemic response. It also highlights the need to centre women in Canada’s economic recovery efforts going forward. According to Statistics Canada, women make up 56% of the workers in occupations known as the 5Cs: caring, cashiering, catering, cleaning and clerical functions. These occupations have come to be known as “essential work” throughout the pandemic, however they lack any sort of protection or benefits.
Throughout the pandemic, women have also experienced economic losses at a greater scale. For example, in March 2020, women in Canada aged 25-54 years represented 70% of all job losses. Furthermore, 1 in 5 women workers lost their jobs or the majority of their hours in February and March.
Instead of giving in to the urge to cut government spending, now is the time to invest in communities hardest hit by the pandemic.
The report highlights 8 policy recommendations:
- Intersectionality: Understanding Power
- Addressing Root Causes of Systemic Racism
- Care Work is Essential Work
- Investing in Good Jobs
- Fighting the Shadow Pandemic
- Bolstering Small Businesses
- Strengthening Infrastructure for Recovery
- Diverse Voices in Decisions