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Annex for the Biarritz Partnership on Gender Equality
Biarritz, France, August 26, 2019
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Drawing from ongoing policy initiatives in Canada, and taking inspiration from other countries laws and experiences, including the Women-Owned Small Businesses/Small Business Act in the United States, Canada could review options aimed at ensuring greater access to entrepreneurship opportunities for women and women-owned businesses, with a particular focus on the public procurement sector an issue identified by the Gender Equality Advisory Council as requiring further government attention across G7 countries.
Canada could learn key lessons from countries such as Australia who have implemented the Enhancing Online Safety (Non-Consensual Sharing of Intimate Images) Act of 2018. In addition to ensuring offenders are subject to criminal prosecution and punishment, further study is required on how to oblige companies to remove content, as well as consideration of the possible penalties companies could face for non-compliance with those obligations.
Building on examples from the Gender Equality Advisory Council compendium of laws as well as Canada's own 2018 Proactive Pay Equity Act (pertaining to women and men in federally regulated work places), there are options worth exploring in terms of achieving strong outcomes in efforts to promote equal pay for work of equal value. In this respect, France's 2019 Law introducing specific performance obligations with regard to equal pay offer one such approach that merits further study and attention.
The mandate of the Department is to advance equality with respect to sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression through the inclusion of people of all genders, including women, in Canada's economic, social, and political life.
In 2018 and 2019, Canada adopted a number of transformative measures and laws that set the foundation and continues to build the momentum to achieve gender equality.
The adoption of key legislation in a number of important areas helped build the appropriate framework to advance gender equality. A systemic and holist approach through legislation, policies and programs will help ensure a change in behavior in the long term.
In this context, Status of Women Canada (SWC) became Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) upon Royal Assent of the Department for Women and Gender Equality Act in December 2018. In addition to its previous responsibilities regarding women's equality, the Department has an expanded mandate to advance gender equality with respect to sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression through the inclusion of people of all genders, including women, in Canada's economic, social, and political life.
The Government of Canada also committed significant resources (over $380 million) in 2018 and 2019 to support the mandate of the new Department.
In order to fulfill its mandate, the Department works closely with provinces and territories as well as other partners and stakeholders to advance gender equality across the country.
The Canadian Gender Budgeting Act came into force in 2018. The Act enshrines gender budgeting in the federal government's budgetary and financial management processes ensuring that all measures adopted by the Government of Canada include a Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) approach. GBA+ considerations will be fully integrated in all budget analyses for the Minister of Finance. The Minister of Finance must table, before each House of Parliament, a report on the impacts in terms of gender and diversity of all new budget measures described in the plan.
Through Bill C-75, which was passed as law in 2018, the Criminal Code was strengthened to address sexual assault and intimate partner violence and to clarify sexual assault provisions.
The Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (Bill C-16) adds gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act, and adds gender identity and gender expression to provisions dealing with hate propaganda, incitement to genocide, and aggravating factors in sentencing.
The 2018 Proactive Pay Equity Act introduces a proactive pay equity regime to ensure that women and men in federally regulated workplaces receive equal pay for work of equal value. Passed in 2018, Bill C-25 amends the Canada Business Corporations Act, the Canada Cooperatives Act, the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act and the Competition Act to ensure diversity of senior management and Boards of Directors of federally incorporated organizations. In 2017, Bill C-65 introduced the Act to amend the Canada Labour Code in order to protect employees from harassment and violence in federal workplaces.
The NHS prioritizes the needs of the most vulnerable people, which includes women and girls. The Government of Canada committed $40 billion to the NHS, which is a 10-year plan to help ensure that all Canadians have access to safe and affordable housing. At least 25 per cent of NHS investments will support projects that specifically target the unique needs of women and girls.
Introduced in Budget 2018, the Gender Results Framework represents the federal government's vision for gender equality and diversity in Canada and abroad.
The Gender Results Framework is aligned with the Government of Canada's policy of GBA+, ensuring that gender is considered in relation to other intersecting identity factors. It is evidence-based, including indicators and benchmarks to monitor progress, and is open to the public through its web portal.Federal Budget decisions are guided by the Gender Results Framework.
The Gender Results Framework guides Canada's progress to advance gender equality by:
The Gender Results Framework focuses on six areas:
Gender Equality Around the World – Promoting gender equality to build a more peaceful, inclusive, rules-based and prosperous world through Canada's Feminist International Assistance Policy.
The Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP) aims to eradicate poverty and build a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world by focussing on promoting six action areas: gender equality and empowering women and girls; human dignity (health and nutrition, education, humanitarian action); growth that works for everyone; environment and climate action; inclusive governance; and peace and security. Canada's FIAP has committed to significantly increasing programming that will advance gender equality and empower women and girls. At least 95% of all Global Affairs Canada's bilateral international development investments will specifically target or integrate gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls by 2021-22.
Canada's Second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (CNAP) aims to expand women's participation in peace and security efforts and contained the Government of Canada's specific commitments to advance the WPS agenda. In developing the 2017-2022 Action Plan, the Government of Canada has consulted with civil society, in particular the Women, Peace and Security Network-Canada (WPSN-C). This input has been invaluable, and the Government of Canada is committed to strengthening this collaboration.
Canada's Trade Diversification Strategy advances an inclusive approach to trade to ensure that all segments of society, including women and women-owned businesses, can take advantage of the opportunities that flow from international trade and investment.
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The EU is fully committed to the principle of equal pay for equal work as enshrined in its Treaties. In the first 100 days of its new mandate (2019-2024), the European Commission will take action to introduce binding pay-transparency measures.
The Directive sets minimum standards for family leaves, encourages sharing of family leaves through earmarked periods of two months paid parental leave for each of the parents, and introduces 5 days careers' leave for each worker and 10 days paid paternity leave for fathers. EU member states are now taking necessary steps to implement the Directive into their national legislation, with the support of the European Commission. EU Members will provide a national implementation report in 2027 and the European Commission will draw up an implementation report for the entire European Union.
Gender equality is a fundamental value of the EU, enshrined in the European Union Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
The Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019 marked a new phase in EU efforts to promote equality between women and men identifying more than thirty key actions with timelines and indicators for monitoring in five priority areas: i) equal economic independence for women and men; ii) equal pay for work of equal value; iii) equality in decision-making; iv) dignity, integrity and ending gender-based violence; and v) promoting gender equality beyond the EU. In addition, it emphasised the need to integrate a gender equality perspective into all EU policies as well as into EU funding programmes. Progress made in implementing the Strategic engagement has been reflected in annual reports.
The Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019 will be followed by a gender equality strategy to continue the European Commission's work on promoting gender equality in the EU and elsewhere.
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The economic situation of women remains unequal to that of men in France. Too many women are subject to "economic violence" within the meaning of the definition in the Istanbul Convention. Too many women depend on the goodwill of their husband or ex-husband, do not have free access to their bank accounts and means of payment, even in France, more women than men find themselves in precarious situations. Similarly, too few women have access to the best-paid positions, studies with the best pay outcomes, C-level positions on executive boards, business creation and vocational training after maternity leave.
The law will include a measure to promote female entrepreneurship and SMEs headed by women through Bpifrance and the Agence des Participations de l'Etat (APE) (inspired by the Women-Owned Small Businesses/Small Business Act in the United States), as well as promoting the Business Angels and financing schemes for female-owned businesses. Further measures, which have been discussed with economic and social partners, will round out the bill in the coming months.
This law will bring about concrete change in favour of gender equality in France as well as the economic development of our country.
Gender equality is the key cause of the five-year term of the French President. The first measures of the key cause, gender equality, are already bearing fruit: hundreds of fines have been issued for public harassment and there has been a significant increase in the number of reports and complaints filed for sexist and sexual violence. To better protect women from the violence which has led to the death of over 90 women since the beginning of the year, the Government is organizing a Conference against Domestic Violence on 3 September 2019. Associations, experts on the ground and many members of local government have been calling for such an event for a long time. It will be an opportunity to mobilize the country on a large scale both at ministerial level, with grassroots players, but also at the level of society as a whole. It will end with the presentation of a national strategy shared by all players.
Many women who raise their children alone have to deal with unpaid maintenance contributions. This concern was at the heart of the Great National Debate, with tens of workshops being held across France.
Between 2020 and 2021, and without waiting for a first failure to pay maintenance contribution, one of the parties will be able to automatically request assistance from an intermediary agency.
The Act of 3 August 2018 has strengthened the fight against sexist and sexual violence, making France the first country in the world to hand out on-the-spot fines for public harassment. The measure is effective as is shown by the initial data on convictions:
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The ongoing evaluation and monitoring of the Act on Equal Participation in Executive Positions from 2015 has shown that the German gender quota works and has positive effects even beyond the scope of its application. The share of women on supervisory boards in large companies with a mandatory quota of at least 30% has risen to 34.9%. What is more, companies with a mandatory quota set more ambitious targets for other senior positions and perform better when it comes to increasing the number of women on executive boards and at the top management levels in comparison with those companies not subject to a mandatory quota. The expansion of the existing law will therefore beef up existing obligations for companies to set more ambitious targets by allowing for sanctions in case of non- compliance. Progress made on all obligations under the existing Act and the expansion will be monitored. Furthermore, progress reports will be made public.
Germany will continue to implement the obligations of the Istanbul Convention with the help of the Action Programme. The various measures are in line with several of the Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC) recommendations and include a National Roundtable as well as a Federal Funding Programme (from 2019) to help fill the known gaps in the assistance system. This includes innovative ways to improve both access to the support system and services for target groups that have received insufficient assistance so far. The aim is to contribute to the needs-based expansion of services provided by women's shelters and the relevant drop-in counselling centres. Another element of the Action Programme will be a nationwide Anti-Violence-Campaign aimed at raising awareness of violence against women and domestic violence among the broader public and at promoting the possibilities for help and support.
Through this Act, the Federal Government is providing the federal states (Länder) with 5.5 billion euros in investments until 2022 to improve the quality of child day care at local level. This includes employing more personnel, extending opening hours and reducing fees (with free day care for children from low-income families).
This Act will be implemented through individual contracts between the Federal Government and the governments of the individual Lšnder. With a flexible and needs-based approach, the needs of both children and working parents are taken into account. This will help mothers/parents and esp. single parents (mostly women) to better reconcile work with child-rearing. It should help to increase the rate of esp. mothers taking up work after maternal and parental leave. This will lead to more gender equality in the world of work in the long run and will contribute to lowering the pension gap between men and women.
This programme is part of a broader mix of measures to improve training, working conditions, pay (e.g. training allowance) and career opportunities in the early childhood education and care sector, in which the share of women is very high.
The new programme comprises the three "P's" for personnel:
Practice-integrated remunerated training: The programme promotes paid pre- service training in order to attract skilled workers to early childhood education from 2019 onwards.
Practical guidance: In order to ensure that more childcare teachers qualify to become training specialists and have time to train junior staff on the job, appropriate further qualifications and leave of absence are promoted.
Perspectives with promotion bonus: To ensure that gaining higher qualifications and assuming special responsibility are worth the effort, subsidies will be provided for the remuneration of skilled workers entrusted with a special task on the basis of an additional qualification, thus ensuring that they earn more.
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New legislation (so called Red Code) will be implemented with the objective to reinforce the law yet in force, prevent and countering gender-based violence. To this purpose also an Operational Plan, adopted within the framework of the National Strategic Plan on Male Violence against Women for 2017-2020, will be performed with a dedicated budget (€ 38,5 million for 2019), to deal with multi- level targets and overseen by a national mechanism with the mandate to monitor and review its implementation.
Italy will prepare and make operational a strategic framework for gender equality, in line with the current discussions for the new programming period and consistently with the national practice of thematic National Plans (VAW, THB), by 31 December 2020. The strategic framework will support social and economic empowerment of girls and women as well as strengthen the integration of gender mainstreaming, at all policy level, among all relevant stakeholders.
Italy will renew its commitment to implement policies and programmes that seek to reinforce girls' success and empowerment, both in and outside school, to tackle gender stereotypes and discouraging social rules and to develop functional, transferable and job specific skills at a young age.
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Laws were revised in the same direction as the Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC) recommendations, and Japan will take into account them for better implementation.
Regarding prevention of violence against women including spousal violence and harassment, which are one of our top priorities, we will make our effort to strengthen training programs for service providers and responders, and to raise awareness of young people, as well as to create a work environment free from harassment and discrimination.
These actions will strengthen policies including elimination of gender-based violence and women's empowerment, taking into account the recommendations of the GEAC.
The government will start to consider a new plan that compiles new numerical targets and strengthened measures from this autumn which is to be developed at the end of FY 2020.
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The UK will adopt landmark legislation on domestic abuse, aimed at supporting victims and their families and bringing offenders to justice. The Domestic Abuse Bill will also help to allow the UK to ratify the Istanbul Convention, as per the recommendation of the Gender Equality Advisory Council.
The Domestic Abuse Bill and accompanying package of non-legislative action follows a consultation that the UK held in 2018. The Domestic Abuse Bill was introduced to Parliament in July 2019. To help tackle the crime, measures in the Bill include:
The UK will reform its parental leave offer to help parents better balance the gender division of parental leave and pay. This will build on the success of Shared Parental Leave, which allows mothers in the UK to transfer their leave to fathers, and will advance women's economic empowerment.
The UK currently has the longest maternity leave of all OECD countries, but paternity leave is six weeks shorter than the OECD average. The UK is currently consulting on a range of high level options for reforming the current system of parental leave.
The UK will strengthen protections from sexual harassment in the workplace. Although sexual harassment has been against the law for decades, recent reports – including those of the #metoo movement – show there is still more to do.
We have recently consulted on proposals to improve the regulation of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). These include:
In addition, we are now consulting on more general improvements to the legal protections from sexual harassment. These include:
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The United States has taken critical steps to empower women at home and abroad. Thanks to our economic policies, including the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the elimination of unnecessary and burdensome regulations, the unemployment rate for American women recently hit the lowest rate in 65 years. We have also fought for policies that recognize the demands and challenges of working parents in order to help women thrive in the labor force and provide for their families. For instance, we secured a doubling of the child tax credit, preserved the child and dependent care credit, and developed a tax credit for employers who offer paid family and medical leave, and we continue to call on Congress to pass a nationwide paid family leave program. Additionally, we are working to break down the barriers women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields face through the expansion of apprenticeships and vocational education for all Americans. Further, this year, we launched the Women's Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative, which seeks to economically empower 50 million women across the developing world by 2025 through programs and partnerships to promote women's vocational education and skills training, entrepreneurship and access to capital, and the overall enabling environment of laws, employer practices, and cultural norms that impact women's economic participation.
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Sexual harassment continues to pervade Australian workplaces. One in three Australians (33 per cent) have experienced sexual harassment at work in the past five years, with women more likely to be victims compared to men.
To support practical action to address this issue, the Australian Government has contributed AUD500,000 towards the Australian Human Rights Commission's Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in the Workplace. The inquiry is considering the drivers of sexual harassment in the workplace, the use of technology and social media, the adequacy of the existing legal framework, as well current practices to inform practical recommendations that will assist Australian workplaces to be safe and respectful. The inquiry is due to deliver its report later this year.
Later this year, the Australian Government will introduce legislation to increase the flexibility and access to government funded Paid Parental Leave.
The proposed changes will allow parents to access leave payments tailored to best suit their needs by splitting their leave into blocks of time. This will provide flexibility to self-employed and small-business owner women who choose to return to their business periodically after the birth of their child. The eligibility rules for will also be changed to allow women who work irregularly, or who need to stop work early in their pregnancy, to access government funded Paid Parental Leave.
Australia is committed to advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda. The current Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security articulates a whole of government commitment to protect women's human rights in fragile, conflict and post-conflict settings. Australia's first National Action Plan will end in 2019 and the Government is current finalising development of a second National Action Plan.
In Australia, women's workforce participation is at a record high, the gap between the retirement incomes of women and men is closing, and the gender pay gap is at a record low of 14.0 per cent.
In November 2018, the Australian Government delivered its first Women's Economic Security Statement, including measures worth around AUD151 million over five years to 2022-23. The Government recently announced its intention to deliver a second Women's Economic Security Statement, which will include as a key plank AUD75 million for a new Mid-Career Checkpoint initiative to support up to 40,000 Australians, particularly women, looking to return from time out of the workforce for caring responsibilities.
On 9 August 2019, Australia agreed the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022. The Fourth Action Plan sets an ambitious agenda to eradicate violence against women and their children across five national priorities, and is supported by a record AUD340 million in Australian Government funding with a clear objective to prevent violence before it happens, as well as supporting those Australians affected by domestic violence.
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The Government presented two bills in Congress regarding on matter:
The Government has presented an Amendment to the Constitution of Chile to explicitly establish the duty of the State to promote equal rights between men and women.
The government is pushing in Congress a comprehensive legislation to protect women against violence. The Bill aims to strengthen institutional responses to survivors, and to prevent, address and punish all forms of violence against women, from domestic violence to violence in other areas and spaces, contributing to a culture of zero tolerance towards violence against women.
The Government presented two bills in Congress regarding on matter:
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The India has enacted various laws to ensure safety and security of women and girls and to protect them from harassment in public space. These include enactment of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and amendments made in our criminal law.
The definition of rape has been broadened and now includes new offences such as acid attack, stalking, sexual harassment, voyeurism and disrobing by making amendment in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) within the Indian Penal Code.
Certain changes have also been made in the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.PC) and the Indian Evidence Act, whereby the statement of the victim of rape and sexual assault will be recorded by a woman police officer and that the victims (below the age of eighteen) is not be confronted by the accused at the time of trial.
Further, for providing an environment of confidence and security to women and girls in public and other places, the government undertaking a number of important focused initiatives including operationalization of 'One Stop Centres' for violence affected women in all districts of India in a time bound manner.
The Information Technology Act, 2000 together with the Indian Penal Code 1860, provides for the legal framework for countering pornographic and other objectionable contents that project women in obscene and derogatory manner.
The said Act terms certain offences as publishing of obscene materials on the internet, tempering the date and hacking as punishable offences.
However, since Cybercrimes could be perpetuated from anywhere irrespective of a country's territorial jurisdiction, India will endeavor to create a multi-country alliance to combat cybercrime committed against women and children wherein a well-defined framework will be established to fix accountability of intermediates irrespective of their geographical location towards prevention of cybercrime committed against women and children.
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In order to provide a better deterrent for certain forms of violence against women and girls, Senegal will amend its Penal Code with the adoption of a law aimed at increasing the sentences for cases of rape and pedophilia.
With the forthcoming adoption of this law, rape, currently punishable by a sentence of 5 to 10 years, will be punishable by a sentence of 10 to 20 years without the possibility for suspended sentences or attenuating circumstances.
As regards pedophilia, the sentence will be of 5 to 10 years without the possibility for suspended sentences. Offences committed by an ascendant of the victim or by someone with any authority over a child victim will be classed as aggravating circumstances.
Senegal expects for this law to be examined by the Council of Ministers in September and for it to be promptly sent to be voted on by Parliament before the end of 2019.
Rwanda announced that it will also be supporting the Biarritz Partnership on Gender Equality.
Source: Official website of the French G7 Presidency
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