Living Our Values Through Calgary's 2019-2022 Budget Priorities - A Letter to the Councillor
Critical programs that relieve poverty, such as Fair Entry, Family and Community Support Services, and affordable and social housing must be maintained and improved upon. It is also important that all budget decisions made strive to meet the social and economic needs of those Calgarians who are most marginalized.
Dear Councillor Carra,
We write today in response to the City’s request for input into the Municipal Service Plans and Budget Priorities for 2019-2022.
We were very encouraged by the passing of the Notice of Motion on Gender Equity and Diversity in 2017, and are looking forward to seeing a set of strong recommendations to advance gender equality in Calgary as the next step.
The Women’s Centre of Calgary believes that a great way to demonstrate commitment to the goals outlined in the Notice of Motion would be to use the principles of the Fair Calgary Policy and GBA+ (Gender Based Analysis Plus) to guide budget deliberations. GBA+ is an analytical tool used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people may experience policies, programs and initiatives differently.
The federal and provincial governments have adopted GBA+ in recognition that budget decisions are not gender neutral; women may be unfairly disadvantaged. We know that on average, women are more likely to depend on public services to meet the needs of their families. This reality must be considered when determining how best to fund and deliver services.
Funding decisions grounded in the principles of equity and fairness will ensure continued access for women to essential public services. Critical programs that relieve poverty, such as Fair Entry, Family and Community Support Services, and affordable and social housing must be maintained and improved upon. It is also important that all budget decisions made strive to meet the social and economic needs of those Calgarians who are most marginalized.
As you know, the Women’s Centre of Calgary is a community organization that provides a safe, supportive space for women where they can get assistance, connect with others, and work for change. We have been working to advocate for social and economic policies that are reflective of women’s realities and experiences. The Women’s Centre community includes women from diverse social and economic backgrounds; over a half of the women who come to the Women’s Centre identify as living in poverty.
We have considerable knowledge about the issues that women face and look forward to continuing to work with you to develop services in an equitable manner.
Kerry Lynn Okita, Co-Chair of the Board of the Women's Centre
Susan Gillies, Executive Director of the Women's Centre
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra, the Ward 9 Office or The City of Calgary.