OCIC Gender Equality Hub


OCIC’s Gender Equality Hub is a Community of Practice that seeks to actively examine how a gender transformative and intersectional approach to development can shape our work towards universal sustainable development, and how we can work together to identify gaps and challenges and mobilize around current opportunities. We envision this Hub to be an influential and inspiring community of learning and practice across Ontario that will enable multi-sectoral dialogue and knowledge exchange to advance inclusion and gender equality for all. OCIC supports the Hub in establishing terms of reference and goals, and in convening virtual (online) and in-person gathering. 

In 2017 Canada’s first Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP) was adopted. This policy firmly places gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls at the centre of sustainable development and positioned Canada at the forefront of this global effort. While such recent policy developments are certainly promising there are many challenges ahead for achieving gender equality at the local, sub-national, national and international levels. These challenges require us to bring our critical and creative thinking to the table; diverse ways of knowing and being; transformative approaches; cross and multi-sectoral dialogue, knowledge exchange and mobilization, and collaborative advocacy and policy-making efforts. 

Are you:

  • passionate about gender equality, and interested in helping to strengthen the capacity of individuals and organizations to mobilize gender transformative and intersectional approaches? 
  • working on gender equality issues within diaspora, Indigenous and other communities; the international cooperation sector; and other sectors including local community development/non-profit or public sectors; Education (K-12 and post-secondary institutions), the Arts, Media; the private sector (e.g. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or a Social Enterprise)?

OCIC’s new Gender Equality Hub is an opportunity to:

  • contribute regularly to a diverse, inter-generational CSO practitioner hub interested in advancing  thought leadership on gender equality in support of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy ( FIAP) action areas and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
  •  develop joint position papers and other resources on timely and priority issues to influence and inspire gender transformative change;
  • share learning, resources and practices; and
  • provide support to the Council as we animate and evolve our own policies, practices and programs.

Voices From the Grassroots: COVID-19 and Women from the Global South

The Ontario Council for International Cooperation’s Gender Equality Hub commemorated Human Rights Day 2020 with a virtual Breakfast Dialogue, Voices From the Grassroots: COVID-19 and Women from the Global South, on December 10, 2020 at 8:30 am (EST). This dialogue focused on sharing experiences of women and girls from Afghanistan, Guatemala, Kenya, Mali, Philippines, Uganda and South Sudan, with the aim of amplifying their voices, showcasing their resilience, highlighting their unique challenges, and drumming up more support for stronger gender lenses in responding to the pandemic by all actors.

Participants had the opportunity to learn about this initiative and to hear directly from Carmen Zubiaga, a disability rights advocate from the Philippines; Carolyn Drileba, a young refugee girl from South Sudan currently living in Uganda; and Najia Zewari, an Afghan/Canadian, founder of Global Women’s Network, and member of OCIC’s GE Hub.

Over the past several months, individual members of OCIC’s GE Hub and those representing Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO-SACO), World Accord, and World Renew have been working together to document the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable women and girls from seven countries.

The women and girls have spoken of impacts such as increased debt loads, job and income loss, heightened levels of gender violence and assault, especially amongst young girls, increased crime amongst youth boys, food insecurity and hunger, transportation challenges, civil unrest, unresponsive and inconsistent governments, exacerbation of inequality and discrimination, especially for persons with disabilities, as well as increased mental stress. Their experiences echo those of women, girls and other vulnerable and marginalised groups across the world, including in Canada.

Their testimonials call upon us to increase our advocacy efforts for increased gender responsive approaches by all sectors in response to COVID-19, as well as in rebuilding societies after the pandemic. They further call upon us to strengthen our approaches to more deliberately include diverse and multiple stakeholders and at all levels, including amongst civil society, religious groups, the private sector, community-based organizations at the grassroots, with diaspora communities, etc.

Read the OCIC Gender Equality Hub International Human Rights Day Statement here.

[PDF] / [Accessible Word Doc]

On Human Rights Day, we call on each of us to:

  • Share the stories of these women and girls in your networks, spaces, and spheres of influence
  • Sustain your engagement in gender equality and human rights issues
  • Consider contributing financially this month to a local or global family in need, or to support a  grassroots women’s organization in any of these countries: Afghanistan, Guatemala, Kenya, Mali, the Philippines, South Sudan, and Uganda. If you would like OCIC to facilitate this, you can donate here.
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