The City of Vancouver has approved a 10-year Women’s Equity Strategy, to make the city a “fair, safe and inclusive city” for all women.
According to a release, the strategy, entitled A City For All Women, will be rolled out immediately and address the issues faced by women in five priority areas:
- Applying an intersectional lens to strengthen City processes and inform decision-making
- Addressing safety, including violence against women
- Accessible, quality childcare
- Safe and affordable housing
- Women’s leadership and representation within the City’s workforce
City Manager Sadhu Johnston said the strategy focuses on the areas where the City can make a difference to equality for women.
“There is no question that there is work needed to ensure equality for women, in Vancouver, as well as the rest of the country, he said. “We have a vision of a city where gender is not a barrier to any opportunities or resources and this strategy will help us move towards this goal.”
According to the release, the strategy is intended to ensure women have the chance to fully participate in the political, economic, cultural and social life of Vancouver. In an assessment by City staff of the current situation, only 37% of senior management and only 30% of engineers, technicians, and engineering assistants at the City are women.
They also found that overall, 70% of minimum wage workers in BC, 76% of part-time workers, and 56% of lower-paid workers are women.
In Vancouver, City staff found women’s median income was only $29,800, less than men’s median income of $36,900, and Vancouver’s annual living wage of $37,500.
In Phase 1, the following actions will be taken:
- pilot an intersectional framework
- train senior staff on how to apply an intersectional lens
- revise civic assets naming guidelines to include gender diversity
- conduct a scoping study of women’s safety
- collaborate with the community on raising awareness of violence against women
- ensure women’s safety in neighbourhood planning and development
- formalize inter-departmental response to women’s safety in the Downtown Eastside
- partner with provincial and federal governments to increase affordable childcare
- help families with children to attend Council and Public Hearings
- determine how to identify extent of women’s hidden homelessness
- Liaise with women-serving organizations
- Identify women in need of priority housing
Women at the City
- support women’s advancement in leadership at the City
- develop breastfeeding policy for City staff
- speak with female leaders and those in under-represented positions at the City
- publicly report on City’s workforce composition, including salaries
- training recruitment staff to recognize and mitigate unconscious bias
Phase 1 will be immediately coordinated by City staff, who will also consider ongoing public and stakeholder consultations in collaboration with the Women’s Advisory Committee.
Departments across the City of Vancouver will then measure progress and report out regularly, with a full progress due in 2019.