Canadian delegation to attend 54th United Nations Commission on the Status of
Women and Beijing+15

OTTAWA, March 1 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Helena Guergis, Minister of State (Status of Women), will head the Canadian delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW), March 1 to 12 in New York. Member states are engaged in Beijing+15, a 15-year review of progress on implementing the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

"As we celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, I am pleased to be delivering this report on results we have achieved in Canada," Minister of State Guergis said. "While we are pleased with the solid progress, there is more to do and gatherings like this will help galvanize efforts in Canada and around the world to help improve the quality of life for girls and women."

This year at the UNCSW, emphasis will be placed on the sharing of experiences and good practices, toward overcoming remaining obstacles and new challenges, including those related to the Millennium Development Goals. On March 2, 2010, Minister of State Guergis will deliver Canada's statement outlining progress and challenges.

Minister of State Guergis will highlight concrete results achieved, including:

    -   In 2007, women earned 61 per cent of all university degrees, diplomas
        and certificates, compared to 55 per cent in 1998.
    -   In 2009, Canadian women represented 47.2 percent of the labour force.
    -   Women are starting small businesses at twice the rate of men, and
        women's average incomes have increased almost 17 per cent since 2002.
    -   Beginning in January 2011, self-employed Canadians will have access
        to four types of federal employment insurance (EI) benefits -
        maternity, parental, sickness and compassionate care.
    -   Currently, 28.9 per cent of Canada's federal Cabinet are women - the
        highest rate ever.
    -   Within the federal government bureaucracy, 38.7 per cent of deputy
        ministers are women, compared to 25 per cent in 2005 - an increase of
        50 per cent.
    -   Women make up 54.9 per cent of Canada's federal public service,
        including 43 per cent of all executive-category positions - up from
        33.8 per cent in 2005.
    -   In December 2009, the Government of Canada contributed $1 million to
        Uniting to End Violence against Women, a project of shelter
        organizations across Canada to facilitate the national exchange of
        best practices, and to design and establish a national network of
        women's shelters across Canada.
    -   The Government of Canada is working to end trafficking in persons, a
        crime that particularly affects women and girls trafficked for sexual
        exploitation. Canada recently renewed a Strategy for preventing the
        sexual exploitation of children on the Internet and has proposed
        legislation to change the Criminal Code to combat such exploitation.
    -   Through its Women's Program, Status of Women Canada (SWC) supports a
        wide variety of initiatives aimed at increasing women's participation
        in decision-making at all levels. One example is our government's
        work with the Canadian Federation of Municipalities and their work to
        increase women's leadership and political participation particularly
        in rural Canada.

"These accomplishments, which just skim the surface of our tremendous progress to date, represent years of work, and the development and implementation of positive, effective and forward-looking policies, including consistent use of our gender-based analysis protocols," said Minister of State Guergis. "I am looking forward to meeting with other heads of delegations and the representatives of non-governmental organizations from around the world to learn of more best practices globally, and to share Canada's experiences and our success."

The UNCSW, a commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, is dedicated to gender equality and advancement of women, and is the principal global policy-making body. The Commission brings together representatives of Member States at UN Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards, and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide. The meeting of the Commission is held each year over a period of 10 working days, normally scheduled in late February-early March.

Ce texte est également disponible en français.

For news releases and information on Status of Women Canada, go to

SOURCE Status of Women Canada

For further information: For further information: Emily Goucher, Senior Special Assistant, Communications, Office of the Minister of State (Status of Women), (819) 956-4000; Nanci-Jean Waugh, Director General, Communications and Strategic Planning, Status of Women Canada, (613) 995-7839

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