Anqi Shen

Anqi ShenAnqi Shen is a former writer/videographer at the Canadian Women's Foundation. She is passionate about multimedia storytelling, research and policy analysis, and education. She has written and produced content for national news organizations and nonprofits.

Bringing Violence Prevention to the North

Girl smilingIn a classroom in the South Slave Region of the Northwest Territories, students leave their books and desks to one side, gathering in a circle in the middle of the room.

They are about to begin a warm-up exercise as part of the Healthy Relationships Plus program developed by the Fourth R, a violence-prevention organization based in London, ON. The Fourth R’s healthy relationships curriculum is already offered in 5,000 schools across Canada. Now, funding from the Canadian Women’s Foundation is helping expand the program into schools in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Prosperity is a Relative Term

Woman in auto shopA new year brings with it the age-old tradition of making resolutions: a roadmap for the next 12 months that may change course, depending on who’s driving. Our resolutions are not only based on what we wish for, but to a large extent what we already have. So a common goal like financial success can mean vastly different things to different people.

A woman looking to start a business may set out to build a top firm, or she may be motivated primarily by the need to pay rent and support her family after losing a job. For many women in Canada, financial success means becoming financially independent: earning a steady income, or feeling more financially secure, aspiring to move out of low-wage or precarious employment, and much more. We tend to hear about wealth and poverty in broad strokes, but there are many degrees of poverty and privilege.

Day 16: Freedom from Gender-based Violence is a Human Right

Woman wearing leather jacketWe hear about it every week in the news. We have a sister, female colleague or friend who has experienced it. We hope the next generation won’t have to.

“It” is gender-based violence. On December 10, Human Rights Day, we are reminded that the right to live free of gender-based violence is a human right that is yet to be secure in any country.

Established by the United Nations in 1950, Human Rights Day is recognized by organizations and governments around the world, and it comes at the end of the 16 Days of Action Against Gender-Based Violence.

Day 14: How Shelters Help Women Make a Difficult Leap

Mother and childWhen a woman finds herself in a violent relationship, leaving is not as simple as many would think. Does she have a safe place to go if she leaves? Will her abuser retaliate?  If she has children, how will she navigate the family court system? These questions, and more, make a difficult decision all the more grueling.

On top of the emotional stress, it’s a challenge for many women who leave their abusers to find affordable housing. Across Canada, housing prices have been steadily rising, with experts sounding alarms over a severe shortage of affordable housing to buy or rent. Many women face a difficult choice between living with violence and living in poverty.

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.

How 8 trail-blazing women started the Canadian Women’s Foundation

Nancy RuthBefore they helped the Canadian Women’s Foundation get off the ground, they were politicians, lawyers, and women’s rights advocates. Aside from their contributions to this organization, our eight founding mothers have also left their mark on Canadian history in various ways. Among our founders are the first black woman to be elected to a provincial legislature, Canada’s first openly gay senator, and founding members of some of the country’s most well-known institutions.

For Women’s History Month, we look back to the 1980s to understand how and why these women from different backgrounds came together to start a national charity for women and girls.

Introducing 2015's Michele Landsberg Community Award Winner: The "I Don't Owe You" Campaign

I don't owe you posterSomeone helps you with your homework or offers to give you a ride home. You accept. You thank them. You’re texting back and forth, maybe flirting, maybe sending photos of yourself, and you get the sense that they want more. Even though you only wanted the homework help, or the ride, or the sexting, the person feels entitled to your body. And you’re not sure whether they might be right.

These scenarios are not uncommon among youth and young adults. But the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, in Halifax, wants you to know: “No one is entitled to your body—you don’t owe anyone.”

Cyberbullying: Why Youth Don’t Tell and How Parents Can Help

Girl with tabletIf someone starts spreading rumours about your child online, you may be the last to hear about it. Children and teens don’t necessarily recognize aggressive online behaviours as ‘bullying’ and for several reasons, they’re not keen to tell adults about it.

A 2012 national study found that about 19 percent of youth in grades 6 to 10 said they’ve been cyberbullied. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, according to Dr. Wendy Craig, who co-authored the study.

In the survey, children were asked about behaviours including name-calling, rumour-spreading, sending negative pictures, and saying mean things online. Their responses were startling.

How two Alberta grantees are adapting to an economic downturn

Woman in hard hat smilingWhen oil prices collapsed last year, the Canadian economy took a hit after a slow recovery from the 2008 recession. In Alberta, one of the hardest-hit provinces, some sectors have seen rounds of layoffs and self-employment has risen.

So, it may come as no surprise that community organizations such as Momentum, in Calgary, and Women Building Futures, in Edmonton, have been seeing greater demand for their economic development programs.

Understanding women’s poverty in Canada—and taking action

Woman in black and whiteOver the past 20 years, women have been the biggest driver of household income growth in Canada. During that time, more women have joined the workforce and their incomes have slowly grown, so you would expect that women’s levels of poverty have dropped accordingly—but that’s not the case. Why?

We got some answers from Kate McInturff, senior researcher with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the keynote speaker at a recent reception hosted by the Canadian Women’s Foundation.