TFO Canada’s Gender Policy

TFO Canada strives to ensure gender equality for men and women in their participation in TFO Canada’s programs, projects and activities, and also in TFO Canada’s employment, contracting and management opportunities



The goal of this gender policy is to ensure that women and men benefit equally from all of TFO Canada’s policies, programs, projects and activities, and that TFO Canada’s projects do not have negative implications for the social, economic and cultural rights of either.



To ensure that all of TFO Canada’s actions:

  • support women as equal decision-makers over economic resources—and in society, politics and culture more broadly;
  • encourage women to become equal economic participants in order to promote economic development;
  • promote gender equality as essential to sustainable economic development.



Gender equality means that women and men enjoy the same status and have equal opportunity to realize their full human rights and potential to contribute to national, political, economic, social and cultural development, and to benefit from the results.
Gender equity means being fair to women and men. To ensure fairness, measures are often needed to compensate for historical and social disadvantages that prevent women and men from otherwise operating as equals.


TFO Canada undertakes projects that promote the economic development of both women and men in developing countries, taking steps to ensure equal access for women and men in all its activities and benefits.  In particular, TFO Canada promotes access for women and men in developing countries to opportunities to increase their knowledge, grow their businesses, and have access to the Canadian marketplace. This means that TFO Canada will (a) strive to integrate women’s and men’s concerns in all policies and projects, and, (b) where women are significantly under-represented, it will include specific activities aimed at expanding the reach of the project so that it will be more inclusive.

TFO Canada particularly favours the inclusion of project opportunities that focus specifically on businesswomen, or sectors with high female participation as owners or managers, in order to promote balanced participation by women and men.

The following points are to be incorporated in TFO Canada’s projects and activities:

  • Issues of gender in the local, national and economic sector contexts of the countries where it intervenes are to be analyzed and taken into account in the development and implementation of projects and activities. Where possible, TFO Canada will include sex-disaggregated baseline data on entrepreneurship, and employment, and identify export sectors where both women and men are substantially engaged as entrepreneurs and workers. Where possible, TFO Canada will assess the gender as well as environmental dimensions of sectors where it is considering engaging.
  • Project documents will include gender outcomes consistent with the three objectives of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada’s Gender Equality Action Plan: increasing women’s access to resources and benefits, advancing women’s equal participation as decision-makers, and promoting rights for women and girls.
  • Project activities should encourage the development of skills and opportunities for women entrepreneurs and leaders whenever possible by, for example, identifying gender-related constraints and solutions as part of the project design and activities.
  • Data collection and evaluation must be planned and performed to effectively evaluate the impacts of our programming for women and men, respectively. In particular, projects should gather sex-disaggregated data on participants and the ownership/management of participating businesses, as well as the employment profile that these businesses generate. This may involve capacity-building for partners on collecting and evaluating sex-disaggregated data. Where feasible, project evaluations should include sex disaggregated data on actual outcomes from export training and participation in trade missions (letters of intent signed, new clients secured, etc.).
  • All partner organizations will be selected for their capacity and willingness to promote equitable opportunities for both women and men in projects or activities performed in collaboration with TFO Canada.  A statement on promoting equal opportunity for women and men will be included in agreements between TFO Canada and external partner organizations.
  • Project reports will include a separate, stand-alone assessment of gender equality results and outcomes, and include a discussion of any gender-related constraints identified during project design, implementation and evaluation phases, the strategies that were identified during the project to address those constraints, and “lessons learned” that may be relevant to future TFO Canada programming.
  • Equal opportunities for women and men will exist for employment and contracting by TFO Canada.  The selection of candidates is to be based upon merit. TFO Canada will seek balanced participation by women and men in these roles.
  • TFO Canada will proactively recruit Board members in a manner that ensures the Board has a balanced representation of men and women.