Author: Anqi Shen
Anqi Shen was 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.
In 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.
A 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.
We 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.
When 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.