Paulette Senior, President and CEO, Canadian Women's Foundation

Paulette Senior, President and CEO, Canadian Women's Foundation

Who I am as a Black woman, an immigrant and settler on Indigenous land with ancestors stolen and displaced across waters, is simply essential. It grounds my passion for rights and justice and equips me with clarity of purpose.

I’m honoured to play a part in propelling the movement for gender equality toward greater equity, toward challenging anti-Black racism and misogynoir (the sexism Black women face), toward greater recognition and representation for all women and equity-seeking people.

I’m sitting with that as we mark Black History/African Liberation Month, because, while awareness for anti-racist change has grown in Canada, changes that will make things better for Black women and gender-diverse people – that will transform our lives and the experiences of our communities – have yet to come.

I’d like to share three essential insights I’m thinking about right now.

1. Misogynoir is yet under-addressed in Canada.

Acknowledging the unique ways racism and sexism converge in the lives of Black women, girls, and gender-diverse people is a crucial step forward. But there are serious gaps in data and in our understanding. Listen to or read my Alright, Now What? podcast interview touching on some of my experiences with misogynoir and what I think needs to happen next.

2. Investment in Black women matters.

Pitch Better’s FoundHers research, supported by the Canadian Women’s Foundation, found that Black women entrepreneurs are highly educated but severely underfunded. It’s an example of a lack of investment in the economic stability and progress of Black women and gender-diverse people – a norm that must shift if we’re going to get anywhere. Read more about the FoundHers findings.

3. Charities and non-profits need change too.

As a Black woman CEO in this sector, I remain an anomaly in Canada. Philanthropic organizations and non-profits need to turn our attentions inward, too. I wrote about it for the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Read Time to Challenge Misogynoir in Fundraising and Nonprofits on