The federal budget that was released on Tuesday included many measures in an attempt to close policy gaps between women and men and act on the results of a never before done gender analysis of every department of the government. One area in which the budget focuses is that they want to achieve gender equality in all sports in Canada, at every level, within the next 20 years.
Both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau made it very clear that if an area of government wanted funding, that they had to focus on making their departments more equal when it comes to gender. While much of the government recognizes that there are huge gains to be made by having more women compete in the Olympics and other high performance sports, the Liberals seem to be more focused on lower levels of sports and trying to get more women involved in positions like management and coaching.
A study that was conducted in 2016 by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport found out that in groups of girls ages 3 to 17, about 40% do not participate in any spots. The number was more than doubled at 84% for women over the age of 17.
While equalizing the playing field is something that should be done, is it really the job of the government to do this? Especially when we have such a large deficit? It would be different if it seemed like this was something that the Liberal government really cared about, but after having time to view the new budget, many people are now saying that their focus on gender is not because they actually care (because for all their budgeting and rules, very few things actually help women in this budget), but because they need to guarantee the support of women voters in the next election. Justin Trudeau, a self declared feminist, has said that he owes a large part of his own success to women voters. I order to continue winning, they need to grow and secure the female vote. So far it seems like this gender based budget is simply a politically good catchphrase. Canadians have yet to be convinced that it will actually make a difference.
Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.