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Permanent Mission of Canada to the UN Gender Pledge

September 2021

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 Permanent Mission of Canada to the UN (Permanent Mission) 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 at the UN, in its very working methods in all areas of policy, should reflect and reinforce its commitment to gender equality. Mainstreaming gender into the working methods of the mission will also help ensure it is consistently reflected in policies.

The Permanent Mission of Canada to the UN recognizes that there are multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, and that these especially affect women and other underrepresented groups. As progress on gender equality is contingent on the establishment and nurturing of an inclusive workplace that respects and values diversity, the multiplicity of identity traits, our intersectionality, should be taken into account and recognized in the equitable execution of our duties as Canadian public servants. Organizations that value and are diverse in age, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, ethnicity, and perspective perform better.

While this pledge is focused on gender equality, the Permanent Mission is committed to fostering an inclusive workplace where everyone is respected, valued and supported. To do so, the Permanent Mission undertakes to increase its collective understanding of diversity and inclusion in the workplace with a view to considering what concrete actions can be implemented to meaningfully integrate respect for diversity and inclusion in its policies and working methods.

This gender pledge sets out specific commitments and key actions on gender equality for the Permanent Mission. Achieving a welcoming, diverse, equitable and inclusive mission is not the responsibility of one person or position but of everyone – managers and employees, men and women alike. The Permanent Mission gender pledge is therefore signed by, and made the responsibility of, all staff.

The gender pledge builds on, and is consistent with, the:

1. Staffing and representation

  1. The Permanent Mission will advocate for women to be represented at all levels and in every section of the Permanent Mission, including at the Ambassador rank; women will actively be encouraged to apply for positions at the Permanent Mission; and the Permanent Mission will conduct inclusive, barrier-free selection processes for such positions.
  2. The Permanent Mission will advocate for all Canadian delegations to formal or informal UN conferences and committees to have balanced gender representation. This expectation will clearly be communicated to Global Affairs Canada divisions and other government departments, and the Permanent Mission will notify senior management of delegations that fail to reflect gender representation.
  3. The Permanent Mission will support and promote career advancement of women colleagues, including by providing barrier-free selection processes in advancement opportunities, leadership training, and mentorship to equip them for success.
  4. All Permanent Mission staff will be required to complete the online Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) training.
  5. To strengthen gender analysis in all issue areas, all Permanent Mission staff will be introduced to the gender focal point, gender equality experts, and women, peace, and security (WPS) experts, and briefed on relevant gender equality and WPS frameworks.
  6. The Permanent Mission will advocate for Canada to nominate candidates for appointment to senior UN positions with the goal of achieving gender parity at the UN.

2. Management

  1. The Permanent Mission leadership will regularly communicate to all staff the priority of gender equality.
  2. The Permanent Mission will enforce a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment, for both mission staff and visitors to the mission. Furthermore, employees will be encouraged to report sexual harassment and be provided with a confidential mechanism to do so.
  3. The Permanent Mission developed Sexual Harassment and Violence Prevention Guidelines that will be shared by the Permanent Mission leadership and discussed amongst all staff at least once a year.
  4. The Permanent Mission leadership has a responsibility to follow-up on all cases where staff report discrimination at the UN in the conduct of official duties.
  5. The Permanent Mission will regularly conduct a gender audit every two 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 mission.
  6. The Permanent Mission will hold an annual training for all staff in support of the gender pledge (example, unconscious bias awareness, bystander intervention training)
  7. The Permanent Mission will include commitments to implement the Gender Pledge within the performance agreements of all Mission staff to ensure that everyone is responsible and accountable for their efforts to implement the Pledge through concrete objectives, targets ad indicators.
  8. The Permanent Mission will highlight the role of women and efforts to mainstream women’s rights and gender equality in its awards and recognitions (formal and informal).
  9. The Permanent Mission 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;
    4. supporting parental leave by men and women; and
    5. advocating for official UN meetings to respect regular working hours.

3. Policy

  1. The Permanent Mission will integrate GBA+ in all analysis of Canadian and UN policy and programming, in order to further gender mainstreaming and to contribute to the National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security.
  2. The Permanent Mission will proactively identify opportunities to promote gender equality in the General Assembly, the Security Council, Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC), and the Peacebuilding Commission, as well as other UN conferences and subsidiary bodies.
  3. The Permanent Mission will consistently advocate for strong language on gender equality and women’s empowerment in resolutions, statements, and side events.
  4. The Permanent Mission 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. 
  5. The Permanent Mission will strive to forge new and deeper partnerships with civil society organizations and meaningfully consult with them on intergovernmental processes implicating all mission components with a view to gaining additional perspectives on the differentiated impact of our work on people with a particular emphasis on women and girls.

4. Communications

  1. The Permanent Mission will highlight Canada’s commitment to gender equality in communication products and conduct outreach to other permanent missions within the UN system and amongst senior UN officials to encourage others to support Canada in our advocacy efforts across different files
  2. The Permanent Mission will ensure visuals and photos in communications products have appropriate gender balance.
  3. All counterparts, regardless of gender, will be offered similar honorifics.
  4. Unnecessary gendered terminology will be avoided in all communications.
  5. All events (not official UN meetings) of three or more speakers organized by the Permanent Mission will have balanced gender representation and will strive to be representative of the UN’s diversity.
  6. Permanent Mission 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 Permanent Mission will be mindful of the equitable allocation of speaking time and roles between men and women. 

5. Review

  1. An Ambassador rank focal point on gender equality supported by an expert-level officer of a different gender will be appointed by the Head of Mission for a term of two years. The focal point will be responsible for providing guidance on enhancing gender equality at the Mission and tracking progress on the implementation of the gender pledge. Once a month, the focal point will highlight a gender pledge commitment at an all-staff meeting.
  2. Gender pledge commitments will be reviewed on an annual basis by the focal point in cooperation with mission leadership, and in consultation with mission staff, to make appropriate adjustments.
  3. The focal point will be responsible for drafting an annual report on the implementation of the gender pledge and the Sexual Harassment and Violence Prevention guidelines. The report will, inter alia, document the number, seniority, and responsibilities of staff, broken down by gender. The findings of this report, including tracking data on year to year changes, will be shared with all staff and with Headquarters.
  4. Best practices on advancing gender equality will be shared with other Canadian and UN Permanent missions, 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 Permanent Mission staff will be required to read and sign the gender pledge.


Robert Rae
Ambassador and Permanent Representative

Richard Arbeiter
Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative

All PRMNY staff

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