CAPITAL Context: THE RACE FOR EQUALITY
A year in a pandemic has taught us many lessons. It has revealed important faults in our systems and challenged our understanding of big issues. Not the least of which is that gender equality is on very tenuous ground. Almost overnight, the countermeasures to control the spread of COVID-19 placed a disproportionate burden on women, reducing their ability to remain in the workforce and run their businesses. In addition, the impact has been even greater on certain groups of women including but not limited to racialized women, Indigenous women, immigrant women, single mothers, and women in rural areas. The long-term impact of the pandemic on women is unknown. However, what is certain is that our race toward gender equality was too slow pre-pandemic and now our progress is at risk. While we have an opportunity to redesign our approach to all the big things, gender equality is a foundational way to move ahead quickly on many fronts.
The Ottawa Board of Trade considers women in leadership and gender equality a key opportunity to drive economic prosperity in our community and our county. We appreciate the coordinated efforts of economic partners such as the City of Ottawa and Invest Ottawa who have created programs and resources to accelerate change and drive conversations about why women need to be elevated. We will continue to work alongside all our partners and promote new ways to address the root causes of this community issue.
Meanwhile, we deemed it important to keep the conversation top of mind by dedicating the theme of the CAPITAL spring 2021 magazine to women. Thank you to our contributors and sponsors for making this edition happen. Inside these pages, you will find the stats, stories, and sentiments of our local business and community leaders that expose what is really happening and how it will determine our future. You will also learn about the strategies that individuals, businesses, and organizations are creating to ensure the mental and physical well-being of women and how to support them to reach their full potential in innovative ways.
The real question is, “what will we all do differently as we go forward to preserve our progress and ensure the acceleration of women’s equality?”
Who can make it happen?
You can. We can. And we must. Individual men and women must become advocates and lead by example in every aspect of our lives. We must actively challenge our thinking, our company cultures, and the way we manage our homes. Businesses, organizations, and governments must demonstrate their commitment through best practices, transparency, and stated intentions. Resources must be made available to incentivize and inspire change. And policy must be bold enough to ensure a paradigm shift in our behaviours and communications. Thank you to our colleagues at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce for publishing “The She-Covery Project” which outlines specific recommendations for both the Ontario and Canadian governments to make a difference in our communities as we continue to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.
Now is the time for real change, lest we lose this window of opportunity to place women in the center of our community, our decision-making, and our economy. Only then will we realize the full potential of our city and set the standard as the Nation’s Capital.