VANCOUVER, British Columbia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed Shahrzad Rafati as Canada’s representative on the Business Women Leaders (BWL) task force, with representatives selected by participating governments from G20 countries to drive actionable, measurable, and results-driven solutions to impact women’s economic empowerment.
This announcement follows the 2017 G20 Summit in Hamburg, where conversations about empowering women in business and advancing gender equality were core topics of discussion. The objectives of the BWL task force are to bring together business women from G20 countries, examine ways to increase women’s participation in the economy and make recommendations for next year’s summit on the implementation of global commitments regarding the female financial health and empowerment.
“Shahrzad Rafati is an outstanding choice to be Canada’s G20 Business Women Leaders’ task force representative. She’s a proven leader, with a remarkable success story, whose vision has revolutionized an entire industry. I know she will bring the same energy and drive to her new role, to tackle the challenge of equality in the workforce and create more opportunities for women to work, lead, and succeed,” said Trudeau.
Rafati has created an executive committee of leaders from the private, public and non-profit sectors in North America who will advise on specific issues related to advancing women’s leadership in business.
“I am incredibly honoured to represent Canada on the G20 Business Women Leaders task force” said Rafati. “Gender equality and female economic empowerment are essential to the success of global economies and industries across all sectors. In Canada, we have come a long way, but there is still much work to be done to ensure women have access to equal pay, quality employment, social services and education, financial parity and economic opportunity.”
According to 2017 data from Statistics Canada, women make 87 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make, which shows the country still has a long way to go to address equality. Women are also less likely to be employed, more likely to work part time and there is a greater likelihood for women to work in fields traditionally thought of as “female” professions such as nursing, teaching, administration and service, according to the Statistics Canada report.
Since founding Vancouver-based BroadbandTV (BBTV) in 2005 and growing the company to become the third largest video property in the world after only Google and Facebook with 33 billion monthly views, Rafati has been a shining example of a leader who has made pay equity and gender diversity key priorities. As a passionate advocate for equality, she has shared best practices and recommendations with other business leaders to encourage them to adopt equal pay for equal work policies.
“I am proud to say at BBTV we have eliminated the disparity in pay across our male and female employees and 43 per cent of our employees are women. Equal pay for equal work isn’t just the right thing to do, the benefits of operating a gender balanced environment run deep to benefit our bottom line. We still have work to do, but we care deeply and we’re committed to continuous improvement,” Rafati noted.
The BWL will work in close collaboration with the engagement groups Women20 and Business20 to make recommendations ahead of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Buenos Aires on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. For more information, visit g20.org.