Inclusive Leadership

When leadership opportunities diversify, the voices of all women and gender-diverse people gain influence. We get closer to the goal of gender justice.

Leaders carry significant power to make change. They can play an important role in making things better and fairer. There are many barriers to leadership for diverse women, girls, and Two Spirit, trans, and non-binary people in Canada.

Why is building leadership urgent?

  • In a study of board directors and officers, fewer women have top decision-making roles. About 1 in 10 women executives are racialized, relative to about 1 in 5 women in the overall working population. Women executives make about 56% less than men executives, and racialized women executives make about 32% less than non-racialized women executives (Statistics Canada, 2021).
  • Even though women are just as likely to win Canadian Parliament nomination contests, only 28% of contestants are women (The Samara Centre for Democracy, 2019).
  • Women represent only 35% of all legislators in Canada and remain under-represented at all levels of government (The Standing Committee on The Status of Women, 2019).

Building Diverse, Community-Grounded Leadership

The Canadian Women’s Foundation strengthens the leadership of women, girls, and gender-diverse people by:

  • offering grants to community-based programs that are designed and/or delivered by participants, for participants.
  • leading and participating in research and systemic change efforts that focus on the experiences and direction of women, girls, and gender-diverse people.
  • providing professional development and training opportunities for service providers who work with women, girls, and gender-diverse people.

How Your Support Makes an Impact: Project Spotlight

This national initiative brings together young people, programs, academics, policymakers, and funders to share successes and challenges and discuss the future of teen healthy relationships programming. It supports programs that help youth learn strategies to develop healthy interpersonal relationships and prevent gender-based violence. It is funded by Public Health Agency of Canada as part of Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence.

Status of Women Canada selected the Canadian Women’s Foundation to convene this Network of 150 women leaders to create an action plan to advance gender equality in Canada.
Established in partnership with the Coady Institute at St. Francis Xavier University, the Institute provided leadership training to 70 mid-career women in the community non-profit sector.

Partnerships for Gender Justice

Help amplify feminist action for lasting change all over Canada.

The Canadian Women’s Foundation participates in national and regional partnerships that work for systemic change across organizations and sectors.

We participate in this national alliance of organizations dedicated to women’s rights and gender equality. Up For Debate calls on all federal political party leaders to participate in a national debate on women’s rights and gender equality. The alliance is also urging federal party leaders to make real commitments to end poverty, end gender-based violence, and support women’s rights and equality-seeking organizations.
Funded by RBC Foundation, the In Good Company collective including Canadian Women’s Foundation, Catalyst, Plan International Canada, and YWCA Canada advances gender equality in the corporate sector and beyond.
We are a part of this grassroots network of over 70 feminist and equality-seeking organizations working domestically on women’s rights and gender equality issues in Canada. The organizations within the Network are committed to the monitoring and implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in Canada.
Smiling Sylvia Wootten sitting at her desk

“I wanted a better understanding of leadership – not as a title or a measurement of power, but as a way of sparking change and community development … The program taught me a new way of thinking, to better understand the reason ‘why’, as opposed to simply knowing the ‘how’.”

Read Sylvia’s Story

Partnership Highlight

You make change happen

Learn more