QUEBEC CITY -- The Quebec government is expected to spend $23.1 million over the next year on a new action plan to address the impacts of the pandemic on women.

The Minister responsible for the Status of Women, Isabelle Charest, announced the plan on Monday.

The government says it will support women-owned businesses to adapt to the health crisis. It will also boost training and aim to provide access to employment in science, technology, and engineering for women affected by the pandemic.

Charest said that, while she believes that Quebec is a model on the international stage, the pandemic has exacerbated some inequalities between women and men.

She says her action plan is necessary to prevent the pandemic from reversing systemic gains towards equality.

“It allows very concrete investments in networks of organizations that work directly with women entrepreneurs, job seekers, immigrants [who have been] racialized or are in vulnerable situations,” said the minister in a Monday press release.

Charest says the plan also aims to raise awareness among employers of the impact of the health crisis on women.

-- This report from the Canadian Press was first published on March 8, 2021.