The Up for Debate campaign helped bring meaningful change

by Jackie Hansen, Women’s Rights Campaigner, Amnesty International Canada

Amnesty International Canada was a proud member of the Up for Debate campaign to promote women’s rights and gender equality in the lead up to last week’s federal election.

Our goal was to make sure that all federal political party leaders explained how they would build a more equal Canada for us all, and make meaningful commitments to change the lives of women and girls for the better at home and around the world. And we succeeded!

  • We shaped the debate: Our media outreach, social media engagement, and direct engagement with political parties and voters put women’s rights issues firmly on the election agenda, more than in previous election campaigns.
  • We got all party leaders on the record discussing women’s rights issues: Between interviews with Chatelaine magazine and videotaped interviews with Up for Debate, all federal political party leaders went on the record to discuss a range of women’s rights issues. Watch the videos!
  • We held a nationally televised event on women’s rights issues: We called on political parties to commit to a federal leaders’ debate on issues identified by women—the first in 30 years. When not all leaders would come to the table, we went to Plan B and pushed for a one on one exclusive interview with each leader on the issues—and we made this happen. It may not have been the debate we first aimed for, but it made sure that women’s rights were a ballot box issue.

Thank you to all who contributed to this huge step forward for putting women’s issues back on the map. There’s of course more to do, but this is an important achievement and we couldn’t have done it without you.

Stay tuned for updates and actions as we monitor how Canada’s 42nd Parliament transforms election promises into concrete action to promote gender equality. Keep an eye on our women’s rights webpage and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.