FIT aims to contribute to advancing Gender Equality (GE) in the Global South by supporting the testing of innovative solutions that are gender-responsive and seek to empower women, girls and vulnerable communities.
Guided by Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy and the Whistler Principles to Accelerate Innovation for Development Impact, FIT recognizes that promoting Gender Equality is not only a crucial human rights issue, but also a pre-condition for inclusive and sustainable development.
A key goal of FIT is to foster greater understanding of the links between Gender Equality and innovation by sharing useful resources with Canadian SMOs who want to test and learn from innovative approaches to address development challenges.
Some of the questions FIT aims to explore throughout the program include: How can a gender-based approach be incorporated throughout an innovation process from design to execution and evaluation? How can local beneficiaries, especially women and girls, participate meaningfully in the co-creation of an innovative idea? How can we identify and measure the impacts of a solution to Gender Equality?
We encourage you to return to this page regularly for new information and resources.
“Achieving the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – and notably the goal on gender equality and women’s empowerment – requires transformative shifts, integrated approaches and new solutions.”
– UN Women, 2019
What is GE?
Gender Equality (GE) is achieved when women and men, girls and boys, and people of all genders enjoy equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities, and have the power to shape their own lives, participate fully in all spheres of society, and contribute to an inclusive and democratic society.
GE is not only a women’s or girl’s issue – it involves women, girls, men and boys. A gender-equal society ensures fair and equitable distribution of power, influence and resources in society, and makes use of every individual’s experiences, skills and competencies.
FIT recognizes the diversity within groups of people of all genders with the understanding that individuals may be impacted differently by social and cultural factors, and/or development projects.
Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy defines key action areas to promote a common vision and ensure the effectiveness of international assistance provided by Canadian organizations in the Global South.
Empowerment of Women and Girls
Empowering women, girls and other genders is a crucial step on the path to gender equality. Through empowerment, women become more aware of unequal power relations, gain control over their lives, and build the confidence and skills needed to overcome inequality in their homes, workplaces and communities.
The desire for empowerment should not come from outside: only women can empower themselves to make choices or to speak out on their own behalf.
Innovative projects should find new ways to support women as they increase their self-confidence, develop self-reliance, make decisions and set their own agendas.
The empowerment of women and girls is shaped by the following factors:
FIT’s Gender Equality Markers
FIT’s Gender Equality Markers (GEMs) measure the extent to which an innovative solution expects to contribute to advancing gender equality and empowering women and girls through testing activities in the Global South.
FIT developed this tool to guide SMOs throughout the design and testing stage of an innovation to ensure that the intervention effectively addresses gender issues. Ideally, innovative solutions will not only take gender into account, but also, if possible, actively attempt to address and transform the root causes of gender inequality.
Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
FIT places human rights and dignity at the centre of our work. As such, we are committed to establishing a culture of zero tolerance for sexual exploitation, harassment and abuse which could occur during the testing of innovative solutions.
Each funded SMO must have its own Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) Policy and/or Code of Conduct, and ensure that their local partners are equally committed to preventing sexual exploitation and abuse.
“As the imperative to ensure women’s participation and rights in social, economic and political progress gains urgency, innovation presents a particularly exciting pathway for seizing the present moment and achieving the goals of women’s empowerment and gender equality—goals that have been so difficult to realize in the past.”
– International Center for Research on Women, 2016