Women’s poverty

"My desire for a better life overruled my fear": Kathy's Story

Kathy Tuccaro with her truckKathy Tuccaro never pictured herself as a heavy equipment operator, but a skilled trades program at Women Building Futures helped her take her life in a new direction.

AT JUST SEVEN years old, Kathy Tuccaro started running away from home.

She says she was first molested as a young child living in foster care, and continued to experience verbal, physical, and sexual abuse during her childhood, as well as throughout her adulthood life.

She went on to have a daughter and become a nurse, but was haunted by her past. She struggled with self-harm, toxic relationships, and alcoholism.

“I had a lifetime of untreated trauma and abuse,” she says. “I had chosen to pack it away and not deal with it.”

At about 40, she hit rock bottom. She found herself living on the streets for a week, following a homeless man who knew how to survive on the streets.

“The turning point came when he slapped me on the back and said, ‘This is the life! Live it, love it!’ I had a sudden moment of clarity and I said, ‘No, this is not my life!’ And I actually stomped my foot. Only to say it louder and with more conviction this time."

Three Reasons Equal Pay Day Matters to All Canadians

Wage Gap StatisticAre you seeing red today? If so, that’s a good thing!

It’s Equal Pay Day, and the Ontario Equal Pay Coalition is calling on people to wear red to acknowledge that women are still “in the red” due to the gender wage gap.

Equal Pay Day marks the date that represents how far into this calendar year women must work to earn what men did in the last year. When you account for the gender wage gap, a woman in Ontario would have to work 15.5 months to earn what men earn in 12 months. That brings us to early April.

Why Is It So Hard to Close The Gender Wage Gap?

Woman in officeThis post was originally published on the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ blog Behind the Numbers.

The wage gap is pretty easy to understand. I do a job. You do a job. I get paid more. You get paid less. Unfair. Especially if you and I have the same training, work the same hours, and perform the same kind of tasks. And yet, the gender wage gap persists, right here in Canada, even when education, occupation, experience, and hours of work are considered. The gap is even bigger for Indigenous women, racialized women, immigrant women, and women with disabilities.

New Inspiration for a New Year

Darlene smilingPsst! It’s contagious! And we’re not talking about this season’s strain of the flu.

We’re talking about inspiration, which we can all do our part to spread by sharing positive stories, ideas or experiences that might help others in their own lives.

Inspiration is just what we need at this time of year, when we’re envisioning fresh starts, new challenges, and resolutions (that we’ll actually stick to!). So today, we’re sharing two stories that inspired us in the past year and asking you to share what, or who, motivates you!

4 Tips For Self-Care

Women sitting in cafeDid you come back from the holidays feeling like it wasn’t exactly a holiday?

Are you back at work, staring blankly at a mountain of emails in your inbox, realizing that you never actually had time to put your feet up amid the whirlwind of travel plans, family gatherings, and last-minute-gift dashes?

If your own needs tend to fall off of your to-do list, now is a great time to think about self-care. And it’s not about spending hundreds of dollars at a spa or committing to daily meditation—it’s just about setting aside pockets of time for activities that help you unwind and reset.

Negotiation Skills: What You Need to Succeed

Women in office meetingRegardless of what’s going on in your personal life or what career path you have chosen, there is one skill that all people need to master: negotiating. Skilled negotiators are able to collaboratively solve problems and move ahead in their careers, so why aren’t women engaging in more negotiations? Fear.

According to Salary.com, 55% of women are nervous about entering negotiations, compared to only 39% of men. Women who choose to negotiate are often viewed as difficult to work with, or less feminine than other women who chose to accept what was given to them without making a fuss. Other research has shown that women are viewed this way regardless of whether they entered the negotiation with a smile or aggressive attitude.

You Cannot Reduce Poverty if Women Can’t Work

Jahangir SultanaThis post was originally published on the Coady International Institute’s blog.

Sultana Jahangir has seen too many educated women lose their dreams. It’s why the Bangladeshi-born founder of the South Asian Women’s Rights Organization (SAWRO) in Toronto is laser-focused when persuading politicians and bureaucrats to do the right thing.

“Two out of three women who use our services have a master's degree, but have trouble finding work,” she says.

5 Ways to Lead for Change

Woman smilingWhen you think of leaders you admire, what are their qualities? Perhaps they fearlessly speak their minds, or inspire others by setting a powerful example.

The good news is that you can develop these skills on your own. And there’s no need to wait for a promotion at work to get started. Getting involved social change is a fantastic way to practice leadership skills.

How? When it comes to gender equality, we have a few ideas for how you can lead for change:

Introducing our new President and CEO! A Q&A with Paulette Senior

Paulette SeniorAs a young newcomer to Canada, Paulette Senior wouldn’t have envisioned herself where she is today—stepping into the role of President and CEO at the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

She was 11 when she moved from her grandmother’s home in Jamaica to join her family in Canada, and struggled with culture shock and a new school. “The school system didn’t really value me and didn’t really see me as bright and capable; in fact, it told me the opposite.”

One of Paulette’s teachers decided she didn’t belong in her grade level, so she was streamed into “an incredibly basic form of education”. But when a different teacher later recognized she didn’t belong there, she got the chance to re-join the regular stream.

Elizabeth’s Story: Being Mentally Healthy

Elizabeth standing in theatreAfter taking a self-employment program, Elizabeth Anderson is turning her passion for public speaking and writing into a business that helps people flourish in spite of mental illness. As told to Jessica Howard.

In 1995, I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. In the years before that, I struggled with paranoia and depression, as well as taking care of myself on a daily basis. I had also left university because I couldn’t keep up with my classes. By the time I was diagnosed, I didn’t know that I would ever recover.