The Power of Voice

Woman writingI never used to be what you’d call an outspoken person. In high school, when my English teacher suggested I read one of my poems aloud in class, I said, “No way!” Early in my career I wrote a well-received research report, but at the press con­ference I actually hid behind a colleague. At dinner parties, I dreaded the prospect of someone raising a controversial subject. I had strong opinions, but not the nerve to say them out loud.

Women are wonderfully diverse, but many of us have one thing in com­mon: We struggle to find our voice. Finding our voice is essential to becom­ing our authentic selves, and is especially important for women and girls who are trapped by violence, poverty, and rigid gender stereotypes.

Debt Struggles Create a Burden of Comparative Poverty for Women

Woman in black and whiteIt’s not just a low income that creates the burden of struggling to make ends meet. A recent study by my firm, Hoyes, Michalos & Associates Inc., shows that women are increasingly turning to debt as a way to survive on a modest income, often to their detriment.

Not surprisingly, almost half of all insolvency filings are made by women.  What is alarming is that women have to turn to bankruptcy for significantly lower debts. In fact, women are filing bankruptcy with debts that are one-third less than that of male insolvent debtors. 

Teens and the search for social privacy online

Mother with daughterAs a mother of teenagers, I often stress about everything and anything. I worry about car problems, school grades, crushes, and dangers trolling the online world. Needless to say, I have spent many sleepless nights surfing the Internet reading horror stories about teens’ risky behaviours that have a tragic ending.

I know…I shouldn’t do this to myself.

In my quest to keep our children safe, I have often struggled with respecting our children’s privacy. On one hand, I want to go mama bear and ward off all potential predators to maintain safety at all costs. However, I know that privacy is needed and valued by our sons and daughters.

Women’s poverty is everyone’s business

Woman at windowIs poverty a problem in a well-off country like Canada? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Especially for women.

Although Canada is a relatively wealthy country, about 1 in 10 Canadians are living on a low income, and 1.5 million of those living on a low income are women. As the infographic below shows, the incidence of poverty is even higher for particular groups of women.

There are two main reasons women tend to be poorer than men:

How Wrap-Around Supports Tackle 9 Big Problems Women Face

9 Big Problems InfographicWomen living on a low income face many barriers to financial stability and independence. When childcare arrangements fall apart or there’s not enough money to pay a dental bill, a woman can find it difficult to finish an economic development program, even when she’s worked hard to earn a spot.

The Canadian Women’s Foundation invests in 3 kinds of women’s economic development programs, focusing on skilled trades, self-employment and social purpose enterprises.

"Why don’t sexual assault victims just go to the police?"

Woman thinkingIn Canada, less than 10% of an estimated 460,000 sexual assaults are reported to police, according to 2004 data from Statistics Canada.

Too often, people question why the remaining 90% choose not to report their assaults. This puts an unfair blame and burden on victims.

There are many reasons why a woman may choose not to report a sexual assault. She may fear for her safety if the perpetrator is not charged and remains at large.

Must Reads for the Week of July 25

This week we learned that while female fans at comic conventions are growing in numbers, there is also a growing harassment problem that needs greater attention. We also learned about a brilliant project  – Cards Against Harassment - which raises awareness about street harassment.

A study reveals the struggles faced by women and people of colour to succeed in corporate America, another study reveals that US lags Europe in women in technology leadership while an article debunks 4 myths about why women shouldn’t pursue non-traditional employment.

Must Reads for the Week of June 20

Newspaper stackThis week FIFA World Cup began with much excitement. Yet one article accurately calls out the many ways the media perpetuates gender stereotypes during this global soccer event. In light of many attention calls to increased human trafficking in Brazil during the games, in Ontario a new study reveals shocking facts about human trafficking right here at home. 

Two commercials got our attention this week; one that hilariously captures awkwardness of puberty and the other calling out women for saying ‘sorry’ too often.

Are We There Yet?

Top earners in Canada


With so much attention on female celebrities who call themselves feminist and high-profile female CEOs like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, it’s easy to believe the glass ceiling has finally been shattered.

Is it possible we’ve finally achieved gender equality?

We decided to crunch some numbers to find out. 

Must Reads for the Week of November 28

Must Reads

This week we enter the 16 days of action to end violence against women after celebrating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Monday, Nov. 25th.

Feminism is once again becoming a hot topic as a TedTalk about Feminism goes viral, a Huff Post explains there’s no typical feminist while Michelle Obama is labelled as a “bad feminist”. 

Sexism in professional sports is alive and an infographics shows us the absurd inequality in the film industry.