We realise that championing the actions of a bloke for something he did on International Women’s Day is, let’s be real, a little on-the-nose. But when it’s a good call from a political leader in the face of his much more powerful neighbouring country doing the polar opposite, it bares at least a golf clap.
Canadian Prime Minister/the internet’s crush Justin Trudeau has used IWD to announce that the Canadian Government will increase its funding commitment to reproductive rights and women’s health, in a monetary boon that will flood some CDN$650 million (about $640 million Australian bucks) to vital family planning and sexual health services, as well as education and support programs.
The $650 million injection represents a doubling of Canada’s pre-standing commitment to vital women’s health and family planning services, and comes at a time where Canada’s neighbouring United States, through an executive order from benevolent President Donald Trump, is threatening to defund its Planned Parenthood service unless it removes all support for legal and safe abortion from its operations (this, despite the fact that abortion was never a federally funded procedure in the US to begin with).
The Canadian money, to be invested over a three-year period, will go towards projects that provide sex education, strengthen reproductive services, as well as supporting family planning and contraceptive education and availability. In addition, the money will provide boosts for targeted efforts to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence overseas, specifically aiming to reduce the prevalence of forced marriage and female genital mutilation. And, above all else, it will support women’s right to access safe and legal abortions, both in Canada and around the world.
Speaking from Ottawa, Trudeau noted that women being subjected to sexual violence and denied education and ownership of their bodies, coupled with poverty, contributes to a global “missed opportunity” for women to contribute to a global economy to their fullest potential.
“This is not only a tragedy; it is a missed opportunity for many countries that could benefit greatly from the economic contributions of women.”
“For far too many women and girls, unsafe abortions and lack of choices in reproductive health mean that they are either at risk… of death, or simply cannot contribute or achieve their potential through education, through involvement in their community, through a broad range of opportunities.”
“It is important that as a world we recognise that empowering women, that respecting their rights, is fundamental to building a world in which everyone has a real and fair chance to succeed.”
Yep. Nail on the head, right there.
Trump’s decision to block US federal funding to services that provide abortion support is expected to create a US$600 million hole in international funding for women’s reproductive health services, for what it’s worth.
So while American political leadership used IWD to brag about itself, Canada continues to enact policy decisions that are quickly becoming the envy of the progressive political world.
And because we know you came in here expecting some ah… visual accompaniment… let’s end this by making doe eyes at Trudeau’s remarkably balanced IWD message.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) March 8, 2017
Photo: Kay Nietfeld/Getty.