As civil society, activists, governments and the United Nations hail 2020 a critical year for advancing women’s rights and gender equality, a femicide crisis in Canada – once a beacon of gender equality – highlights how far there is left to go.
One woman or girl is killed every 2.5 days in Canada – a figure that has not changed in four decades – and a woman is murdered by her partner once a week.
In March, the 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women will appraise implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and assess current challenges. Considered the most wide-reaching international framework for advancing women’s rights, the Beijing agenda covers 12 areas of critical concern, violence against women being one.
When the Beijing Agenda was adopted in 1995, Canada held the top spot on the UN’s gender inequality index. By 2015 – the year Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister of Canada’s first self-declared feminist government and gender-balanced cabinet – it had fallen to 25th place.