Author: Chanel Grenaway
Chanel Grenaway is the Director of Economic Development Programs at the Canadian Womens Foundation. Chanel manages the strategy and activities of the Foundations Canadian Centre for Womens Economic Development including: grant making, capacity building, skills training and research and evaluation work. Prior to joining Canadian Womens Foundation, Chanel was the Program Manager of the Americas and Caribbean at the Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO).
Are you too hard on yourself? Do you tend to focus on your limitations rather than your strengths? You’re not alone. As women, we often find it easier to see our flaws than our abilities.
But in my work with low-income women, I’ve learned the value of taking a more positive approach. For them, learning to recognize their ’hidden’ assets is often the catalyst to taking those first difficult steps out of poverty.
Every woman who attends one of the economic development programs we fund is asked to fill out a special questionnaire. It captures all of her assets—not just how much money she has but also things like friendships, self-confidence, and leadership skills. This approach is grounded in the Sustainable Livelihoods framework we’ve been developing over the past 15 years. The women learn first to notice all of their assets, then to leverage them to reach their goals. One participant said, “mapping my assets was an ‘aha moment’ and a positive way of looking at my current reality.”
Imagine you were about to receive an award and were asked to introduce yourself. What would you say?
If you were asked during an interview: “How do you distinguish between leadership and management,” what would be your answer?
These are tough questions, but over the past three years I have heard quite a few brilliant and inspired answers.
In a bright workspace near Vancouver Harbour, a woman sits at a sewing machine feeding lengths of fabric under the needle. On the table beside her, stacks of colourful street banners lie waiting to be transformed into handsome tote bags.
Welcome to Up to Speed, a unique social enterprise program that enables women to learn skills and earn income by creating environmentally sustainable products. Old street banners in Vancouver are turned into striking and original tote bags by program participants, and sold for profit.
Many of you may remember the recent Fraser Institute Report that came out that claimed that a family could raise a child for only $4,000 a year.
Many others have already written brilliant responses as to why the numbers used in the Report are incomplete and why, for many families, the situtations used in the report are not realistic.