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Almost two decades ago, 189 countries made a commitment in Beijing, China, to achieve equality for women under the law and in practice, so that women could at last enjoy their rights and freedoms as equal human beings.
The countries adopted an ambitious and comprehensive plan to guarantee women the same rights as men, including the right to be educated, to choose their profession, to lead communities and nations, and to make life choices without fear of violence.
Since then, the world has witnessed tremendous progress, including a marked decline in maternal mortality rates and an increase of women in the workforce. In fact, the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s 2014 Gender Gap report found that gender equality has improved in 105 countries since its survey began in 2006.
Yet Canada’s ranking on the WEF’s Gender Gap Index has fallen from a high of 14th of 115 countries in 2006 to 31st of 130 nations in 2008. It then flat-lined — hovering between 18th and 21st position since 2010.
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