Empowering Girls

Girls and non-binary youth deserve to feel powerful and valued today and get every opportunity to become tomorrow’s leaders. You can help them get there.

The years between 9 and 13 are a critical time for girls’ healthy development.

When society teaches girls to focus on limiting, stereotypical gender roles and the way they look, it affects their academic performance and career aspirations. Research finds that girls who show high levels of “internalized sexualization” – the belief that sexual attractiveness is an important part of their identity – get lower grades than their peers.

Despite increasing national awareness about mental health, statistics about the mental health of girls in Canada paint a grim picture. In grade 6, 36% of girls say they feel self-confident. By grade 10, this falls to only 14%.

Why is girls’ empowerment urgent?

As girls approach adolescence, they face:

  • Higher levels of sexual assault and other forms of violence
  • A sharp decline in mental health and confidence
  • Negative stereotyping and sexualization

The Canadian Women’s Foundation Girls’ Fund offers:

  • STEM education
  • Sports and physical activity
  • Media literacy
  • Indigenous culture and connection
  • Mentorship

The Girls’ Fund supports programs that give girls and non-binary youth tools to develop into confident, resilient people, right when they need this support the most. The Fund provides programs to build participants’ skills, gain mentorship opportunities, and deepen their self-esteem in safe spaces just for them.

How Your Support Makes an Impact: Grantee Program Spotlight

Grounded in research with girls with disabilities and/or girls who are Deaf, this program provides tools and information to girl-serving services and programs to help them become more accessible, inclusive, and effective for people of all abilities.

Offers a supportive, confidence-building environment where girls, trans, genderqueer, gender non-binary, and Two Spirit participants discover their true potential, develop independence and identity, and build healthy relationships with older youth mentors.
Interactive learning about science in a safe, fun, non-judgemental environment. Girls get 16 weeks of programming in an array of areas such as robotics, digital music, media literacy, and equine-assisted learning to build self-confidence and self-esteem.
Through weekly sessions and retreats integrating cultural practices and mentorship, this program helps girls develop meaningful, healthy relationships, gain a strong sense of cultural identity, manage mental health, and avoid self-harm.

Building Excellence Beyond the Local Program

Help create a Canada where every girl and non-binary youth has access to amazing empowerment programs in their own community.

We bring together experts who do this programming all over Canada because they need to discuss emerging issues, share best practices, and collaborate to build their excellence based on the evidence about what works. And we support them to push for what they need to do their best work alongside girls, families, and communities they serve.

The Girls’ Fund Donors and Partners

Giant Tiger
TC Energy
Linde Canada Inc.
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO)

“I carry myself much stronger as a woman than I did before … I don’t know where I would be without the programs at the girls’ centre.” (Summer, a girls’ program participant)

“I used to think science was too hard so I didn’t even try … but it can be SO FUN and amazing, now I love it.” (Girls’ program participant)

You can make change happen

  • 75% of participants in the girls’ programs we fund feel more resilient
  • 62% of participants feel more confident
  • 93% of participants go on to feel empowered in their futures
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