City launches Women and Gender Equity Strategy

OTTAWA – At the Mayor’s annual International Women’s Day breakfast, Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Theresa Kavanagh, council’s first Liaison for Women and Gender Equity, launched the city’s Women and Gender Equity Strategy.

“I am excited to be council’s first Liaison on Women and Gender Equity,” Bay Ward Councillor and Council Liaison on Women and Gender Equity Theresa Kavanagh, said. “I look forward to working with residents, my council colleagues and staff to prepare Ottawa’s first ever Women and Gender Equity Strategy. I would like to thank councillors Deans and McKenney and the work of the sponsors group in making this initiative a reality. There will be opportunities for the public to get involved and I encourage everyone to do so.”

The strategy will be developed for council to implement in 2020. The city will be holding a public forum within the next six months to solicit resident feedback and ideas relating to women’s issues and gender equity. The 2019 budget has allocated $210,000 to fund the strategy, which includes one staff position.

As the city conducted its governance review consultations, members of council were supportive of establishing a council liaison for women’s issues in an effort to promote and advance gender-equity in programs and policies currently in place.

As part of the governance review, council also committed to aim for 50/50 gender parity on the city’s advisory committees and boards, which, after completing the selection and appointment process, has been achieved.

A sponsors group was established to develop the mandate of the council liaison, including how it will intersect with standing committees and departmental staff. The sponsors group is made up of the mayor or his designate, Coun. Catherine McKenney, Coun. Diane Deans and Coun. Jenna Sudds, the chair of the Community and Protective Services committee. They will work closely with city manager Steve Kanellakos or his designate, Janice Burelle, GM, Community and Social Services and Donna Gray, GM Service Innovation and Performance.