Changemaker April 2023
Dear friends and supporters,
All fired up.
That’s how I’ve been feeling ever since our March Summit on preventing spikes in gender-based violence in times of disaster and crisis, Shockproofing Communities. I can’t tell you how energizing and inspiring it was to have hundreds of diverse experts on gender-based violence come together in Ottawa from across Canada to strategize at this Summit, which we co-hosted with Women’s Shelters Canada.
It reminded us that we are all in this challenging work together. We are connected – across provinces, territories, cultures, and languages – by our commitment to ending gender-based violence. Together, we are a powerful, united force for systemic change.
And you are part of that force.
Shifting the status quo is never easy. It takes a critical mass of people and a sustained effort, otherwise change doesn’t happen. That’s why I’m so grateful for your continued support. You understand that we must keep pushing for systemic change to end gender-based violence, to end gendered poverty, and empower all women, girls and gender-diverse people.
You understand that no one has all the answers. To shift the status quo in the right direction, we must listen to those closest to the problems, and those most marginalized and vulnerable throughout Canada. Your support means that, when we are facing complex issues with no fast fixes, we can work toward intersectional and long-term solutions.
You are part of the critical mass that is moving gender justice forward on so many fronts. As you read on about this work, I hope you are also fired up by the progress you are fuelling, particularly as we embark on our Mother Rising Campaign.
President and CEO
Canadian Women’s Foundation
The Mother Rising
Our annual Mother Rising campaign is all about supporting mothers and caregivers to rise. It gives voice to their experiences and challenges. We also spotlight the impact of programs you support for mothers and caregivers.
Join the Mother Rising by:
- Sending a Mother’s Day e-card and gift to honour a mother or caregiver in your life! Your donation will support programs and advocacy that help make things better for mothers and caregivers across Canada.
- Shopping the Mother’s Day Gift Collection on our Shop page.
- Taking the Mother Rising Survey to help guide our work to make things better for mothers and caregivers across Canada.
Thank You for Going Above and Beyond for International Women’s Day
We’re so grateful that you took action on March 8, supporting the advancement of gender justice in so many ways.
You surpassed the fundraising goal of $200,000, giving close to $300,000 to support women, girls and gender-diverse people to move out of poverty, out of violence, and into confidence and leadership.
And 400 people joined our International Women’s Day virtual event: Corporate Citizenship for Gender Equality. Inspirational women across Canada spoke on what it takes to boost workplace equity in these challenging times.
And a special thank you to our giving partners who honour the day: M&M’s, Giant Tiger, Quo Beauty, Holt Renfrew, La Maison Simons, BRP, Reitmans, and many more…
International Women’s Day Community Changemakers
Incredible people came together to fundraise in celebration of International Women’s Day. We are so grateful to:
Women + Wealth
Annual Women + Wealth Galas returned to Calgary and Edmonton, featuring guest speaker the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould (left), Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and Joanna Griffiths, Founder and CEO of Knix. The events drew hundreds of people in celebration and support of women’s empowerment.
Women of Change
This intergenerational group, which aims to inspire women to become changemakers, brought back their annual International Women Day’s event to benefit the Foundation. Some of the group’s founders have been impacted by gender-based violence and are close friends of the Foundation.
Women of Change is where they united to share their journeys, bring more women together, and make change for safety and freedom from abuse: “I think it’s important for all women to have a place to turn to – where they can meet other women, see what’s out in the world, to learn from each other,” said Pamela Aitken, who came up with the idea for Women of Change after hosting a brunch at her home.
“The Foundation gave me that when I was ready, and it impacted me.” Pamela teamed up with three other women to bring the group to life, including Karin Serre, who coaches volleyball and knew about the Foundation through the annual charity volleyball tournament in memory of her friend, Aimee Quitevis. Aimee was killed by her husband in 1998, and the volleyball tournament is a tribute to her life and the sport she loved to play.
Karin loves that the Foundation supports programs for young people. “These programs are extremely valuable. We do see a change in young girls, who ultimately become young women, not be as confident. They pull out of sports, which is a shame. Sports can help them stand on their own two feet, build community and self-esteem.”
Women of Change members Pamela Aitken (third from left) and Karin Serre (fifth from left) and volunteers Jennifer Sharp (second from left) and Toni Clifford (fourth from left), with Deputy Mayor of Toronto Jennifer McKelvie (left) and Toronto City Councillor Brad Bradford.
IWIRC Western Canada Network
The International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC) helps women in the field advance their careers and pursue leadership. The IWIRC Western Canada Network hosts annual events in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Winnipeg, and chose to support the Foundation on International Women’s Day. Their spin classes raised almost $10,000.
Robyn Hunt’s “The Next Day” Fundraiser
On International Women’s Day, Robyn Hunt enjoyed seeing people, corporations, and charities celebrate women. But on her way home, like many women do, Robyn realized she was holding her keys between her fingers as a defence in case of an attack. “It made me feel sad, particularly on that day, to remember that the world is split in two,” she says.
“There’s the reality where women are powerful, strong, celebrated and admired. And there is another reality where we are afraid, are targeted, and are trained to be on the defense. And those two realities exist together, at the exact same time, in the exact same world.” That’s why Robyn created “The Next Day” fundraiser, rallying others to build on International Women’s Day momentum and take action. She did just that, raising $1,700 for the Foundation. She aims to do it again next year – in the hope that one day, we’ll end the risk of gender-based violence and won’t need to be in self-defence mode.
Philanthropy Must Challenge Misogynoir
During Black History/African Liberation Month, Foundation President and CEO Paulette Senior called on the philanthropic sector to challenge anti-Black racism and “vie for better work, invest in better futures, and join the uproar for policy-making that actively includes Black women and gender-diverse people.”
You Can Change the Story: Be a Signal for Help Responder
The Signal for Help is a simple one-handed gesture someone can use, without leaving a digital trace, to communicate they need someone to safely check in and support them. Regardless of whether we see someone use the Signal, we can all learn to how to support those who are facing abuse. When you sign up to become a Signal for Help Responder, you get easy-to-use tools and resources. And the community of almost 50,000 only grows. Our new video below spotlights how you can help turn stories from tragedy to support for survivors when you know what to do.
Need tools and tips?
Sign up for the Signal for Help Responder Online Mini-Course to learn how to support a friend, family member, or colleague who is experiencing abuse – at your own pace, and on your own schedule.
Signal for Help Podcast
The award-winning Media Girlfriends Garvia Bailey, Hannah Sung, and Nana aba Duncan are veteran storytellers. With skill and clarity, they’ve uncovered hidden stories of how everyday people can better support survivors of gender-based violence. In each episode of the Signal for Help podcast you’ll hear from courageous survivors and experts, who provide helpful advice you can put into practice to support people in your life. Subscribe and listen today wherever you get your podcast content.
We have also launched a French Signal for Help podcast.
How You’re Empowering Women on Their Journeys to Economic Stability
Grantee Partner Spotlight: Employment My Way, YWCA Moncton, New Brunswick
“Overall, I gained confidence that I could take control of my future.”
As a single parent raising twins and struggling with health issues, Jenn faced many challenges finding steady work as a writer. But with the help of the Employment My Way program, a grantee partner of the Canadian Women’s Foundation, she learned how to build on her strengths and manage various aspects of running her own freelance writing business. She has since launched her website Jenka.biz, and is feeling much more positive about her future: “I’m now on my way to more financial freedom and security than I ever thought possible.”
Corporate Partner Spotlight: Shoppers Foundation for Women’s Health™
Given the pandemic impacts on women’s and young people’s health, we are grateful for the support of Shoppers Foundation for Women’s Health™, which has donated more than $700,000 to support our Girls’ Fund, as well as teen healthy relationships and violence-prevention programming.
“Shoppers Foundation for Women’s Health™ is committed to fostering health equity for all women in Canada. We believe in the importance of collective action and balancing the duality of national reach and local impact. Working together with the Canadian Women’s Foundation, we are proud to support communities throughout Canada with programming that improves the lives of women, girls, and gender diverse people,” says Paulette Minard, Director, Community Investment.
Aftermetoo.com goes live to support survivors of sexual harassment
When Tarana Burke’s #MeToo hashtag went viral five years ago, a group of women in Canada started organizing. Your support enabled the Canadian Women’s Foundation to serve as a supportive partner to them. And their website, aftermetoo.com is now live. It’s a comprehensive informational resource for people facing sexual harassment at work in Canada. The website uses accessible language to answer common questions, such as: “What are my options when I’m being sexually harassed at work?” and “What can I do to take care of my mental health?” Aftermetoo may be helpful to many people, so please share the link widely.
How Feminist is Federal Budget 2023?
Feminist leaders discussed how Federal Budget 2023 stacks up as diverse women continue to feel the impacts of the pandemic, in this webinar hosted by the Foundation and Oxfam Canada. They addressed whether the budget advances the National Action to End Gender-Based Violence, and other issues critical to gender justice.
At the United Nations
At the annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York City (UNCSW), we hosted two events, bringing key issues to this international forum:
- Rural, Remote, Northern: Gender Justice Challenges and Opportunities in Canada, a panel discussion about priorities in the struggle for intersectional gender justice in rural, remote and Northern Canada.
- The Signal for Help: Innovation to Shift from Stigma to Support, a discussion hosted with Women and Gender Equality Canada in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Canada to the UN, and Permanent Mission of Armenia to the UN about digital media to shift culture and end gender-based violence.
Get informed: Listen to our Alright, Now What? Podcast
Catch up on recent conversations with these experts:
Indigenizing International Women’s Day, with Canadian Women’s Foundation Board Member, Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard (above right).
Kitty Lundy Memorial Lecture
Paulette Senior delivered the 2023 Kitty Lundy Memorial Lecture at her alma mater, York University.
We Want to Hear from You!
Did this issue of Changemakers help you to understand the work of the Foundation and how your support makes a difference? Please share your feedback in our survey, so that we can work to improve future issues.