The Gender Equality Network Canada/Réseau d'égalité des genres Canada brings together 140+ women leaders from community organizations across Canada. Here's an exciting recap of their first national meeting, held September 18-20, 2017.

The Network is convened by the Canadian Women's Foundation as part of our work to advance gender equality and build inclusive, intersectional leadership.

The 36-month initiative is funded by Status of Women Canada as part of their major new investments in women's equality.

We can't take gender equality for granted! A recent survey by the Canadian Women's Foundation showed most Canadians – especially young women – feel progress on gender equality has stalled.

The survey also showed almost 80% of Canadians think the next generation of women will be just as likely – or even more likely – to experience sexual assault. This bleak outlook applies to other forms of violence too:

That same survey says 84% of Canadians believe gender equality benefits everyone.

This new Network will be a major catalyst for advancing gender equality in Canada:

The 140+ women leaders in the Network were nominated by local community organizations from across Canada. Each has a strong track record of working for gender equality and in-depth knowledge of their local communities.

The meeting started with a powerful discussion with a panel of diverse young women, who shared their views on gender equality:

The Network gave the young women panelists a standing ovation!

After the youth panel, the women leaders of the Network got to work:

They started by creating a timeline of the women's movement in Canada to celebrate the gains already made:

By day two, the Network's hashtag #GENCREGC was trending on Twitter in Canada!

Naming the barriers to gender equality:

Taking a much-needed break to celebrate and dance!

Day 3 began with discussions on creating a "Community of Practice" to keep working together between meetings, and on how to measure the success of the Network.

Naming the changes we want to see:

Closing circle at end of day 3 – these women are powerful and united!

This first meeting was only the beginning! The Network will continue to meet and work together until 2020. Stay tuned for more action on gender equality!