Girl Guides of Canada Statement on Canada’s First Gender Equality Week

September 23 – 29, 2018

Girl Guides of Canada—Guides du Canada (GGC) is thrilled to mark Canada’s very first Gender Equality Week from September 23 to 29, 2018. As Canada’s leading organization for girls and women, our movement includes over 95,000 members across the country. Empowerment is part of our Mission: to be a catalyst for girls empowering girls.

About 1 in 5 people in Canada are children or young people under 18 years old. Young people have unique experiences of gender inequality – but their voices often go unheard. Always, but especially during Gender Equality week, we must listen to the voices of young people. Youth are the experts on their own needs and lived experiences; we can learn a lot from making meaningful space for their thoughts and opinions.

GGC works to be a platform for girls and young women to have their voices heard, so we partnered with Ipsos this fall, commissioning a nationwide survey of young people to ask them about gender equality. They told us:

  • Young people – including both boys and girls – are concerned about gender inequality today: 64% of girls and 49% of boys ages 12 to 17, say they are concerned about gender inequality.
  • Girls in particular are worried about how they will be treated as adults, because of their gender. Looking ahead to when they’re 25 years old:
    • 55% of girls are concerned they will be treated unequally or unfairly at work because of their gender; the figure for boys was 27%.
    • 47% of girls are concerned that they will be treated unequally or unfairly in the interests or activities they pursue; the figure for boys was 29%.
    • 42% of girls are concerned that they will be treated unequally or unfairly by the public in general because of their gender; the figure for boys was 29%.
    • 36% of girls are concerned that they will be treated unequally or unfairly in romantic relationships because of their gender; the figure for boys was 25%.

We also asked our National Youth Council members – girls in Canada who are leaders in our movement – to share some of their thoughts about gender equality. They told us:

“I observe inequality between men/boys and women/girls in society daily. Whether it is in the media or at school, etc., I feel that the inequality barriers facing girls and women are affecting their abilities to live up to their full potential and achieve their dreams.” – Sophie, GGC National Youth Council Member

“Women still have so much more trouble being taken seriously and with representation in areas of the workforce. These issues need to be addressed.” – Caitriona, GGC National Youth Council Member

“The fight for more female representation in different career fields, school, politics, and home is not nearly over. Men still hold more power, and make more money. There is especially an issue in inequality between men and POC [people of colour], LGTBQ+, and non-able bodied people.” – Anonymous GGC National Youth Council Member

About Girl Guides of Canada

Girl Guides of Canada–Guides du Canada (GGC) empowers every girl in Guiding to discover herself and be Everything she wants to be. In Guiding, girls from 5-17 meet with girls their own age in a safe, inclusive space to explore what matters to them. With programming options ranging from innovative STEM activities to outdoor adventures and discussions on mental health and healthy relationships, girls in Guiding can customize their experience to dive into the topics relevant to them. GGC is where girls take the lead, put their ideas into action and jump into awesome activities – all with the support of engaged Guiders who are committed to positively impacting their lives. Guiding is all about supporting girls as they take on challenges and grab hold of every opportunity that comes their way.

About the Survey

The survey was commissioned by Girl Guides of Canada through Ipsos as an online poll of 1,003 girls and boys in Canada aged 12-17 between September 5th and 17th, 2018. Participants were able to self-identify as girls or boys. Weighting was employed to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the population of girls and boys aged 12-17 according to the most recent Census data. A sample of this size yields a margin of error of ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error will be larger for data that is based on sub-groups of the total sample.