Infographics

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Board

Professional women in officeGender inequality in the world of work has been a well-deserved focal point of equality debates since second wave feminism’s rise to prominence over 50 years ago. While the pressure to provide women with equal pay for equal work has borne fruit in multiple industries, women still earn an average of 72 cents for every dollar a man makes in Canada.

Gender equality has been even slower to materialise in other areas. One of the most commonly cited examples of continuing inequality in the workplace is the gender weighting at boardroom level – which, for many major corporations, remains dramatically skewed in favour of men.

Not Cut Out for Traditional Leadership? How about Inclusive Leadership?

Young woman in officeDo you do backflips when you hear the word “leadership”?

Does your inner critic tell you you’re just not cut out for it? That you simply don’t have the experience needed and aren’t in any position to tell others what to do?  

But what if being a great leader isn’t about having all the answers or always being in control? What if it’s about listening and collaborating? Working through networks instead of hierarchies?

How much will the new school year cost your family?

Mother and childFor some low-income families, sending kids back to school can break the bank.

Right now, school hallways are probably the cleanest they’ll be all year, but soon the floors will soon be scuffed by the soles of new running shoes and littered with discarded lunches.

Between new books, knapsacks and after-school care, heading back to school is expensive. For single women who are raising children, the cost of a new school year can hit especially hard. About 1 in 5 single mothers in Canada are living on a low income. In 2011, the median annual income for single mothers with children under 6 was $21,200. With little money left after paying for food and rent, many moms are forced to turn down their children’s request for dance lessons and the tech gadgets their friends have.

You Can Bet Your Bottom 72 Cents that the Gender Wage Gap Still Exists

BusinesswomanThe city of London, England is famous for its “Mind the Gap” warning which echoes through the public transit system. It cautions riders about the space between the train and the subway platform.

But the warning is also relevant to women around the world as they navigate their careers – there's a gap that's harder to see, impossible to step over, and considerably less charming. 

The gender wage gap is the difference in income that women earn when compared to men. Some attribute the wage gap to the fact that women tend to be concentrated in undervalued, low-paying jobs, and make up the majority of part-time workers.

When More Canadian Women Reach the Top, We Can Really Celebrate

Woman in officeCanada turns another year older tomorrow. We’ll celebrate by dressing up in red and white and gasping at fireworks as they explode in the sky. Canada Day is an exciting reminder of how far this country has progressed in the last 149 years. Yet despite the significant steps forward, women still haven’t reached true gender equality. In 2015, Canada was ranked 30th on the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index.

Today, women can legally vote, go to school, become doctors and lawyers, and run for political office. Women can, in theory, do whatever and be whoever they want. But in government and business leadership roles, there remains a significant gap between Canadian men and women.

Barriers Ahead: Violence Against Women with Disabilities

Woman thinking“How can you let someone treat you that way?

“Why don’t you report it?”

“Why don’t you just leave him?”

There’s a tendency for people to assume that women should be able to just get up and leave abusive relationships, or that reporting the abuse will immediately put an end to the situation, but it isn’t that easy.

How to Leverage Your Strengths

Woman looking awayAre you too hard on yourself? Do you tend to focus on your limitations rather than your strengths? You’re not alone. As women, we often find it easier to see our flaws than our abilities.

But in my work with low-income women, I’ve learned the value of taking a more positive approach. For them, learning to recognize their ’hidden’ assets is often the catalyst to taking those first difficult steps out of poverty.

Every woman who attends one of the economic development programs we fund is asked to fill out a special questionnaire. It captures all of her assets—not just how much money she has but also things like friendships, self-confidence, and leadership skills. This approach is grounded in the Sustainable Livelihoods framework we’ve been developing over the past 15 years. The women learn first to notice all of their assets, then to leverage them to reach their goals. One participant said, “mapping my assets was an ‘aha moment’ and a positive way of looking at my current reality.”

Day 4: Leave? Easier Said Than Done

Woman looking at cameraIt’s one thing to come to terms with being in an abusive relationship.

It’s another to find a safe way out of that relationship when you have five young children.

For Christina*, who shared her story with SHE magazine, it required a huge leap over a chasm of uncertainties. There were safety, financial, legal, and emotional issues to consider as she tried to get through each day.

How can I end our marriage? What if he comes after me? How will I support the children? What if they miss their dad?

Day 2: The High Cost of Sexual Violence

Woman looking awayWhen a woman is sexually assaulted, the impact on her life can last for years, and the trauma can affect her education, employment, and long-term well-being. Society pays, too. In Canada, the annual costs of sexual assault and related offences for the criminal justice system, social services, and employers add up to an estimated $200 million, according to the Department of Justice.

When you include the medical costs, lost productivity, and pain and suffering of victims, the cost skyrockets to $4.8 billion. The problem is huge. In a 2009 Statistics Canada survey, 472,000 people in Canada reported they had been sexually assaulted. Supports such as counselling and legal advice help survivors re-establish a sense of safety and control over their lives, and reduce the long-term collective costs.

3 Reasons Seniors are Facing More Debt than Ever – and May Be Vulnerable to Abuse

Older womanAlmost half of retirees are in debt. While their total debt might be lower, older Canadians are accumulating debt at a faster rate than their children and grandchildren.  The question is, why this is the first generation of seniors willing to risk their retirement by taking on so much debt late in life? In truth, seniors are facing the pressure to go into debt for three main reasons.

1.       Lifestyle and Longevity

For some, debt becomes a way of funding their retirement. A small segment may be using debt to maintain a larger home rather than downsizing and travelling, but for many, debt is funding basic living expenses. A reduction in income without a healthy safety net, in terms of retirement savings or a good pension, means borrowing to pay the rent and eat. As we live longer, any savings we do have may not go far enough.