Author: Diane Hill
Diane Hill is the Director of Communication for the Gender Equality Network Canada, a national network convened and facilitated by the Canadian Women’s Foundation. She has worked at the Foundation since 2011 and is the former Senior Director of Public Engagement where she oversaw all marketing, communications, public relations, and social media initiatives. As Senior Writer, she founded and edited the Foundation’s biannual magazine, SHE. Diane is a graduate of the Assaulted Women's and Children's Counsellor/Advocate program at George Brown College and has a Master of Environmental Studies from York University. A former auto mechanic, she has worked as a writer, communicator, and social issue researcher for over 20 years and is the former Director of Policy and Research at United Way Toronto. Her writing has appeared in the Huffington Post, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Reader’s Digest, and Best Health.
A report published by the Canadian Women’s Foundation this week provides new insight into the state of gender equality in Canada.
is designed to inform the work of the , a national women’s collaboration that is working on a national action plan for gender equality. The network was launched last year with funding from and is convened by the .
Thousands of women in Canada—many of them single mothers—live on the financial brink, trapped in a constant cycle of ‘one step forward, two steps back.’ Customized supports can help them get unstuck.
This story was originally published in the Spring 2015 issue of SHE Magazine.
FOR YEARS, KRISTIN LUDLOW went from one low-paying job to another. She wanted more for herself: stability, financial independence, and work she cared about.
By the time she heard about the Women in Skilled Trades program in Burlington, she was in serious debt and had no savings. She successfully applied to the 29-week program but still struggled to make ends meet, even though the tuition was covered by the government.
Luckily for Kristin, the Women in Skilled Trades program included something special: an allowance to buy tools, work wear, and safety equipment. Without this extra support, she may not have been able to buy the tools that allowed her to find a job after graduation.
Over 1.5 million women in Canada live in poverty. Most, like Kristin, are working but earning low wages. “Just because you have a job and work 40 hours a week, doesn’t mean you’re going to get out of poverty,” says Ellen Faraday, a coordinator for the Women in Skilled Trades program.
This story was originally published in the Fall 2014 issue of SHE Magazine.
I am an architect and defied the stereotype that an immigrant woman can’t be successful in this male dominated world. It was hard to gain credibility and respect. I only would get jobs that used half my skills, so I worked to get accreditations that only a few people have in Canada. Today I work with the same men that openly said I wouldn’t make it. But I did—because I always believed in myself!
People assume I am a ‘girly girl’ because I usually wear dresses or skirts to the office. In reality, I play soccer, run half-marathons, and watch way too much sports on TV. The highlight of my year is my annual March Madness trip. I wear skirts because I HATE shopping and can never find pants that fit. I always enjoy that moment when people finally get to know me and say “Oh, wow, you’re not at all who I thought you would be.” Exactly.
Does the idea of becoming a leader make you anxious? Are you already so over-extended that the thought of ‘leaning in’ makes you ready to fall over? Do you think becoming a leader means being aggressive—and that’s just not you? Many women seem to resist taking on leadership. Maybe the problem isn’t us, but our concept of leadership itself.
IN THE NORTHERN ALBERTA TOWN of Fort Mackay, a group of Aboriginal and Métis girls sit quietly in a school classroom. Their eyes are closed.
It is Day One of the Friendly PEERsuasian program, where these adolescent girls will learn healthy ways to cope with stress and peer pressure. One of the main goals of the girls' program, which runs in ten schools across the region, is to help the girls avoid the deadly trap of substance abuse that has claimed so many young people in their communities. If all goes well, they will also learn to become healthy role models—PEERsuaders— for younger girls.