Advancing Gender Equality

Case Studies from Across the Commonwealth

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The Commonwealth Secretariat has been a pioneer in promoting women’s rights and gender equality since the 1976–85 UN Decade for Women, and of gender mainstreaming since the UN 4th World Conference on Women, to which our 1995 Plan of Action on Gender and Development was a Commonwealth contribution.

This publication brings together case studies prepared in connection with the end-of-term review of the 2005–15 Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equality. The case studies are based on submissions and interviews with government representatives, gender specialists and other stakeholders, including civil society organisations, from 20 countries representing all regions of the Commonwealth.

The examples were selected to demonstrate a range of strategies that can be employed to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment. Together they help to show what perpetuates gender inequality and offer approaches that can be adopted to help end unjust discrimination.



National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, Canada

Despite Canada’s position as a developed country with ample resources, it still faces challenges in preventing violence, exploitation and abuse for some of its most vulnerable populations, including women and girls. One of the most flagrant forms of this abuse is human trafficking. Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation, harbouring or exercising of control over the movements of a person for exploitation, typically through sexual exploitation or forced labour (Government of Canada 2012). In the Canadian context, this manifests in a variety of circumstances and impacts a wide range of victims. Although men, women, girls and boys can all be affected, the majority of trafficking cases in Canada are of women and girls. Human trafficking involves both international and domestic dimensions, the latter related to trafficking across provincial boundaries within Canada (RCMP 2013).


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