Happy Gender Equality Week 2020!

September 16, 2020

This week, the 21st to the 25th of September, is Gender Equality Week in Canada! This week-long dedication to the topic of gender equality is the result of Bill C-309: The Gender Equality Week Act of 2018. This legislation designates the fourth week of September every year to gender equality in Canada. This week exists to highlight the gendered inequalities that still exist presently in Canada.

To start off this important week, we will be introducing key vocabulary words and concepts related to gender equality. Knowing this vocabulary is the first step to better understanding the complex topic of gender inequality, and to having open discussions about this pressing issue. It is important to note though that this vocabulary is continuously evolving - just like gender identity! As such, it is good to continue to refresh your knowledge.

The following vocabulary and concept definitions were made with the help of The 519’s glossary page, which can be found here, and is highly worth a scroll through! They were also made using knowledge gained from Stratagem lessons, which you can learn more about by clicking here.

Let's begin!

What is sex?

The classification of people as either male, female, or intersex. Sex is usually assigned at birth and is based on an assessment of a person’s reproductive systems, hormones, chromosomes, and other physical characteristics.

What is gender?

Gender can refer to the individual and/or social experience of being a man or a woman, neither, a combination of these, or anywhere along the gender spectrum. These can include (but are certainly not limited to) transgender, two-spirit, cisgender, non-binary, gender queer, gender fluid, and gender neutral. A person’s gender can be fluid and ever-changing – that is why it is considered a gender spectrum and not a gender binary. This is why the vocabulary is also ever-changing!

Gender is often associated with gender roles and gender norms – this is the idea that certain behaviours are expected from and associated with certain genders. Social norms, expectations and roles related to gender vary across time, space, culture, and individuals. These can be very restrictive though, as they do not account for the diversity in gender!

What is Gender Equality?

Gender equality is first and foremost a fundamental human right - it is the fifth Sustainable Development Goal! It is necessary to build inclusive, peaceful, and productive societies and for sustainable development. It demands not just the equality of genders, but also implicates taking into account the many different aspects of people’s identities that will impact the ways they experience the world, for example, race, religion, age, disability, class, sexuality, culture, etc.

We will have a new post every day of this week on the topic of gender equality in Canada, so stay tuned!