Open Letter Calling for a Gendered Response to COVID-19

Dear Mayor Watson and Members of City Council,

The City for All Women Initiative (CAWI) is increasingly concerned about the lack of an Equity and Inclusion Lens in the City’s emergency responses to COVID-19. While the City has taken various positive steps, such as including diverse voices in emergency response planning, women continue to fall through the cracks.

The disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women, and particularly women experiencing socio- economic marginalization, is well-documented in research from Canada and around the world. In these unprecedented circumstances, CAWI urges the City to apply an intersectional gender Equity and Inclusion Lens to all phases of planning and implementation of the City’s emergency response. This will ensure that any emergency response takes into consideration the full diversity of women, men, and gender-diverse people. We propose the following steps to help women whose vulnerabilities have worsened during COVID-19:

Implement Emergency Measures for Women experiencing Gender-Based Violence

We are hearing of an increase in domestic violence exacerbated by isolation measures. With the Violence Against Women (VAW) sector functioning at capacity, our community partners fear that women and children in crisis will not have anywhere to go for a long time.