About Us

Who we are

The Canadian Women’s Foundation is Canada’s public foundation for diverse women and girls.

We focus on women and girls because they face distinct barriers that require distinct solutions and because gender equality improves economic and social conditions for everyone.

Gender Inclusion

We aim to be inclusive of diverse people across gender and sexuality spectrums. We focus our efforts on supporting those who face the most barriers and have least access to relevant services. This includes people who identify as women, girls, trans, genderqueer, non-binary, and 2SLGBTQI+.

What we do

We fund programs across Canada, prioritizing communities where the need is greatest. These programs address four urgent issues: gender-based violence, economic security, girls’ empowerment, and inclusive leadership.

We also work to improve systems, policies, and practices to build equity. We bring together community organizations across Canada to share knowledge and solutions, acting as a hub for grassroots leaders, issue experts, advocates, and donors working hard to keep the momentum for change.

Frequently Asked Questions

UN Women explains it as “equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities” for all genders. It doesn’t mean that everyone should be the same. It means peoples’ rights, responsibilities, and opportunities shouldn’t depend on their gender. It implies that the interests and needs of everybody, in all their diversities, are important. It’s not a “women’s issue.” It’s everyone’s issue, and it makes life better for all of us.

Hands up if you’ve noticed that – despite progress – gender equality STILL hasn’t been achieved in Canada? Gender equality is more complicated than just having rights on paper or legislation on the books. Over and over, statistics and research show that equity is not a “lived reality” when you look at people’s daily lives and experiences. Hands up if you know:

  • a woman, girl, trans, or non-binary person who has experienced physical or emotional abuse, sexual assault, or harassment
  • a woman, girl, trans, or non-binary person who feels nervous about getting assaulted or harassed going to work or school, going out in their neighbourhoods, going out to meet friends, staying inside their own homes.
  • a mother struggling to raise her children on a low income
  • a woman, girl, trans, or non-binary person who has been discriminated against
  • a girl who doesn’t feel confident because she’ll never live up to the hypersexualized “ideal” she sees in the media
  • a woman who feels pressured to give up a leadership opportunity for family responsibilities.

This inequity touches everyone’s lives. But we can do something about it. When you contribute and get involved with us, you bring us closer to achieving gender equality for ALL in Canada. Are you with us?

Read more facts about the issues.

We were first launched because of the limited sources for funding for organizations that advanced gender equality and worked to help women and girls in Canada. As a foundation, we were able to fill some of that funding gap and we continue to play that role today. Our foundation approach of putting the voices and needs of diverse women, girls, and communities at the centre has enabled us to inform social policies, practices, and approaches. This is important because we help change structures and improve “the way things work” to get Canada closer to that goal of gender equality and social equity for everyone.

Read our founding story.

Read our Principles for Feminist Funding.

The work of the Canadian Women’s Foundation and the organizations we support takes place on traditional First Nations, Métis, and Inuit territories. We are grateful for the opportunity to meet and work on this land. However, we recognize that land acknowledgments are not enough. We need to pursue truth, reconciliation, decolonization, and allyship in an ongoing effort to make right with all our relations.

To start, we are learning and unlearning within the Foundation itself. In 2019 and 2020, we will learn from key reports on truth and reconciliation and grow our understanding of relevant issues such as the historical impacts of “charity work” on Indigenous communities; gender rights activism led by Indigenous leaders; and how settler-based organizations can build allied relationships with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities.

This will prepare us to commit to concrete action across our departments and sign onto The Philanthropic Community’s Declaration of Action developed by The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. We will also take learnings from the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls to inform our work and actions.

After these initial steps, we will further pursue truth and reconciliation efforts in our organizational plans. This will include how we make grants, administer community gatherings, deepen community relationships, engage in policy and practice change work, and report on activities and outcomes along the way.

Impact in 2018/19

  • 74 programs funded
  • 9,353 lives touched
  • 29 programs in rural and remote communities
  • 26 programs centred on Indigenous communities