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Embassy of Canada to the Kingdom of the Netherlands – Gender Pledge

Canada is committed to advancing gender equality and to the empowerment of women and girls, including the promotion and protection of their human rights. Gender equality is at the heart of Canada’s Foreign Policy, Feminist International Assistance Policy, Inclusive Trade Strategy, and Defence Policy. As representatives of Canada abroad, the Embassy of Canada to the Kingdom of the Netherlands (“The Embassy”) must therefore be at the forefront of efforts to uphold and promote gender equality. The Embassy affirms that Gender equality must not only be affirmed in policy, but must also be articulated in practice.

While this pledge is focused on gender equality, the Embassy is committed to fostering an inclusive workplace where everyone is respected, valued and supported. The Embassy recognizes that there are multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, and that these can impact individuals in different ways.

This gender pledge is intended as a statement of general values and principals, to build on and be consistent with the following documents:

Our pledge

The Embassy reaffirms the Government of Canada’s commitment to advance gender equality in carrying out our mandate of both representing Canada bilaterally in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, as well as representing Canada at international multilateral institutions located in The Hague. The Embassy affirms that foreign affairs, trade, international development, and humanitarian assistance policies are more effective and more credible when they incorporate gender diversity.

As such, the Embassy endeavors to achieve our collective goal of greater gender equality globally while also striving to ensure that the Embassy itself sets a high standard as a gender-diverse and inclusive workplace. This gender pledge sets out specific commitments and key actions on gender equality for the Embassy. It recognizes that achieving an inclusive workspace is the responsibility of managers and employees of all genders.

In this respect, the Embassy makes the following pledge:

Representation

  1. The Embassy will advocate for Canadian delegations, including for bilateral meetings as well as for Hague-based multilateral conferences and committees, to include gender representation, and will advocate for gender representation in panels, debates, and other expert discussions organized or sponsored by the Embassy. This includes that:
    1. All events of three or more speakers organized by the Embassy will have balanced gender representation.
    2. Embassy staff will encourage appropriate gender balance in the organization of events, decline to participate in events of three or more speakers where no good faith effort has been made to ensure gender representation, or otherwise highlight if there is a lack of gender representation in their statements during events.
  2. In organizing or participating in public events the Embassy will be mindful of gender balance in the allocation of speaking time and roles.
  3. The Embassy will encourage staff to complete relevant training courses on gender-related issues as part of their learning plans, including relevant GBA+ training.
  4. The Embassy will advocate for Canada to consider gender representation as a consideration in the nomination or support for candidates for senior positions at multilateral organizations based in the Netherlands.

Management

  1. The Ambassador and senior leadership of the Embassy will regularly communicate to all staff the priority of gender representation in both internal and external operations.
  2. The Embassy will continue to enforce a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment, for both staff and visitors to the mission. Staff will be encouraged to be ‘active bystanders’ and report any instances of sexual harassment.
  3. The Embassy acknowledges its responsibility to follow-up on all cases where staff report discrimination or harassment, both internally or in the context of external duties.
  4. The Embassy will include commitments to implement the Gender Pledge within the performance agreements of all Embassy staff to ensure that everyone is responsible and accountable for their efforts to implement the Pledge through concrete objectives, targets ad indicators.
  5. The Embassy will highlight the role of efforts to mainstream gender representation in its awards and recognitions (both formal and informal).
  6. The Embassy will assess and review the differential impact of working methods and working conditions on all genders. This will include encouraging the adoption of practices to enhance work-life flexibility, including:
    1. early information and advance notice of meetings to enhance predictability and planning;
    2. avoiding calling meetings during early mornings, evenings, weekends and public holidays;
    3. supporting staff who require flexible work arrangements, including for family responsibilities;
    4. advocating for official bilateral and multilateral meetings to respect regular working hours where possible.

Policy

  1. The Embassy will work to integrate GBA+ in relevant analysis of policy and programming, in order to further gender mainstreaming.
  2. The Embassy will work to proactively identify opportunities to promote gender equality and gender representation, including in the governance and operations of multilateral institutions located in the Netherlands.
  3. The Embassy will work with likeminded partners to advocate for strong language on gender equality in multilateral resolutions, statements, and side events, as well as in shared bilateral events and statements.
  4. The Embassy will proactively identify opportunities to support gender equality as part of the ongoing promotion of diversity and human rights, and will identify further opportunities for bilateral cooperation in support of gender equality.
  5. The Embassy will strive to forge new and deeper partnerships with civil society organizations focused on gender equality, and will meaningfully consult with them where appropriate with a view to gaining additional perspectives on the gender impact of policy objectives and outcomes.

Communications

  1. The Embassy will highlight the importance of commitment to gender equality in communication products and social media.
  2. The Embassy will use gender-inclusive language in internal and external communications, and will ensure visuals and photos in communications products have appropriate gender balance.
  3. All counterparts, regardless of gender, will be offered similar honorifics.

Review and approval

  1. These Gender Pledge commitments will be reviewed on an annual basis by the Ambassador and senior management of the Embassy, with representation from locally engaged staff, and will be updated where necessary.
  2. The Embassy will share best practices on advancing gender equality with other Canadian diplomatic missions, other missions located in The Hague, as well as with other members of the International Gender Champions leadership network, to encourage the development, improvement, and implementation of this and other gender pledges.
  3. This gender pledge will be signed by all incoming Ambassadors.
  4. All Embassy staff will be required to read this gender pledge, and it will form part of the ‘arrival package’ for new staff.
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