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Canadian Embassy, Warsaw, Poland Gender Pledge

March 2020


Canada is committed to advancing gender equality and 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, International Assistance Policy, and Defence Policy. Gender equality has also been affirmed as a priority of the UN, notably in the 2030 Agenda, Security Council Resolution 1325 and related resolutions, and the Secretary General’s gender parity strategy. Domestically, the Government of Canada is committed to providing a work environment where women are welcomed, supported and respected.

In Canada and elsewhere, gender equality is recognized as a human right and an essential component of peace, security, development, and economic prosperity. Yet, the objective of gender equality is far from being achieved, and in some quarters neglected or actively undermined. The Canadian Embassy in Warsaw, Poland with accreditation to Belarus (the Embassy) must therefore be at the forefront of efforts to uphold and promote gender equality.

Gender equality must not only be affirmed in policy, but must also be articulated in practice. How Canada carries out its work in Poland and Belarus, in its working methods in all areas of policy, should reflect and reinforce its commitment to gender equality. Mainstreaming gender into the working methods of the Embassy will also help ensure it is consistently reflected in policies.

This gender pledge sets out specific commitments and key actions on gender equality for the Embassy. Achieving gender equality is not the sole responsibility of gender experts but of everyone – men and women. The Embassy gender pledge is therefore signed by the Embassy leadership and made the responsibility of all staff.

The gender pledge builds on, and is consistent with, the Public Service Employment Act the Employment Equity Act, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, the GAC Values and Ethics Code, the Code of Conduct for Canadian Representatives Abroad, and the Policy on Harassment Prevention and Resolution.

1.  Staffing and Representation

2. Management

  1. The Embassy leadership will regularly communicate to all staff the priority of gender equality.
  2. The Embassy will enforce a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment. Furthermore, employees will be encouraged to report sexual harassment and be provided with a confidential mechanism to do so.
  3. The Embassy will conduct a gender audit every five years to assess and review the differential impact of working methods and working conditions on men and women, to encourage work-life balance, and to review the institutionalization of gender equality in the policies, programs, structures, and interactions of the Embassy.
  4. The Embassy will conduct unconscious bias awareness training for all staff at minimum once every five years.
  5. The Embassy will include gender criteria under Public Service Performance Management (PSPM) objectives and competencies.
  6. The Embassy will encourage 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 women and men who require flexible work arrangements, including for family responsibilities when operational requirements permit; 4) supporting parental leave by men and women; and 5) advocating for official bilateral meetings to respect regular working hours. 

3. Policy

  1. The Embassy will proactively identify opportunities to promote gender equality as part of the ongoing promotion of Canadian of diversity and human rights.
  2. The Embassy will regularly consult with women’s groups and groups promoting gender equality and the human rights of women and girls on the full range of policy areas, not simply those directly on the topics of gender equality and women’s rights. 

4. Communications

  1. The Embassy will highlight Canada’s commitment to gender equality in communication products.
  2. The Embassy will ensure visuals and photos in communications products have appropriate gender balance.
  3. All counterparts, regardless of gender, will be offered similar honorariums.
  4. Unnecessary gendered terminology will be avoided in all communications.
  5. All events of three or more speakers organized by the Embassy will have balanced gender representation where possible with reasonable efforts.
  6. 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.
  7. The Embassy will be mindful of the equitable allocation of speaking time and roles between men and women. 

5. Review

  1. Gender pledge commitments will be reviewed on an annual basis by the Committee on Mission Management with representation from the LES community and Embassy management engages to make appropriate adjustments.
  2. Best practices on advancing gender equality will be shared with other Canadian and local diplomatic missions, including the Polish and Belarussian ministerial counterparts where possible, to encourage the development, improvement, and implementation of gender pledges.

6. Approval

  1. The gender pledge will be signed by all incoming Ambassadors.
  2. All Embassy staff will be required to read the gender pledge. 


Leslie Scanlon
Ambassador to Poland with Accreditation to Belarus

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