Queen's University

UN downgrades Canada’s sex equality ranking

2011-03-18

Queen’s University law professor Kathleen Lahey is available to talk about a United Nations report that recently downgraded Canada’s sex equality ranking.

The UN Development Programme’s Gender Inequality Index updated its rankings to include UNICEF’s most recent report on global rates of maternal mortality. Canada’s ranking on this new UNICEF data is so poor that it resulted in Canada being downgraded on the 2010 GII from No. 16 to No. 18. Canada used to be one of the top-ranking countries but has steadily declined over the past 20 years.

“International development and equality rankings do not change with every shift in the wind. Each index is made up of numerous aggregate figures. For any one component of the index to push Canada down so far in the UN Gender Inequality Index rankings – and so fast – is unusual. While Canada has been falling in these international indexes for several years, this is a major downgrade,” says Dr. Lahey, about the report that came out March 8. “Perhaps Canada needs a special watchdog committee to ensure that its domestic health spending accountably and transparently safeguards maternal health.”

Dr. Lahey specializes in sex equality and has been involved in equality cases brought under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. She is the author of several books, including Women and Employment: Removing Fiscal Barriers to Women's Labour Force Participation and The Taxation of Women.

To arrange an interview, please contact communication officers Michael Onesi at 613.533.6000 ext. 77513 or michael.onesi@queensu.ca or Christina Archibald at 613-533-2877 or Christina.Archibald@queensu.ca at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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