Gender Equality Matters

CanWaCH Gender Equality Blog Series 

I’m excited to launch CanWaCH’s Gender Equality Blog during Gender Equality Week September 23-29, 2018.  Gender equality matters!

When gender equality is built into the policies, planning and practices of global health, it can be a game changer. We can create conditions for long-lasting change by addressing barriers that prevent women, men, girls, boys, and gender diverse people, from realizing their full right to health and well-being.

This blog will tackle a range of pressing issues related to gender equality. It will examine urgent challenges, profile success stories and provide timely insight on key issues in global health through a gender equality lens.

I’m continually inspired by CanWaCH members’ work on advancing gender equality. Over the past few months, I have had the honour of working with CanWaCH’s newly formed Gender Equality Working Group. This group is focused on increasing collaboration, knowledge-sharing and learning opportunities on gender equality and health. It’s made up of 20 gender equality champions from across our membership. You’ll be hearing many of their voices as contributors to this blog.

Why does gender equality matter?

Gender inequality is a major barrier for women and girls. Significant progress has been made over the past two decades. However, there is still a lot more work to be done. Gender inequality keeps millions of women and girls from realizing their right to health. It is time for this to change.

The cost of inaction is staggering. This inequality means that women and girls are the hardest hit by extreme poverty, climate change, natural disasters and humanitarian crises. For vulnerable and marginalized women and girls, this leads to increased risk of preventable death and illness, lack of access to essential services to address their specific needs and cultural and political conditions that prevent them from making choices about their bodies and health.

Women and girls are powerful change-makers. Gender equality must be at the heart of the solutions to end global poverty and realize human rights. Investing in women and girls’ health has a multiplier effect. When women and girls are healthy, educated, safe from violence, they can exercise their rights and have the skills and increased opportunities to help pull themselves and their communities out of poverty.

This blog is being launched during the first-ever Gender Equality Week in Canada. This week is an opportunity for people from across Canada to celebrate the progress we’ve made in advancing gender equality in Canada. Gender Equality Week will also kickstart the Mobilization leading up to the June 2019 Women Deliver Conference in Vancouver, which promises to be the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights and well-being of girls and women in the 21st century.

Stay tuned for more on why gender equality matters and how we are taking action to advance gender equality in Canada and around the world

Kristen Ostling
Senior Gender Equality Advisor

Subscribe to the Gender Equality Blog


September 21, 2018


Kristen Ostling, Senior Gender Equality Advisor, CanWaCH