Join The Mother Rising

The pandemic has had a devastating effect on diverse mothers and family caregivers in Canada.

They carry so much unpaid care and household responsibilities. At the same time, many of them face high risks in their paid jobs at the frontlines of care work. And they’ve experienced a great deal of job losses in the pandemic. The burdens and barriers are worse for those experiencing poverty, discrimination, and gender-based violence.

The work women and gender-diverse people do to take care of us is undervalued. Gender justice is the solution.

“It has made my job as a parent ten times harder to sort out. I’ve struggled with intense mental health struggles in the last year.”

Survey Respondent

“I feel very overwhelmed and anxious. It is hard to take care of my kids this much on my own and work and be isolated.”

Survey Respondent

The Facts

Mothers in Canada: National Poll Highlights

46%

of mothers are reaching their breaking point

  • 70% are concerned about family mental health
  • 3 in 5 wish they could make their mental health more of a priority
  • More than one quarter (28%) of moms say they are struggling to keep up with work demands
  • 27% are afraid to take time off work or they will lose their job
  • 46% say it has been exhausting trying to balance work and childcare responsibilities

Significantly More Mothers Than Fathers Say …

Mom
Dad

they have had to put their career on the back burner to manage home/parenting responsibilities
(32% vs. 21%) 

  • They do more than their spouse when it comes to managing the child(ren)s schedules and activities (67% vs. 28%) and supporting the child(ren)s education (59% vs. 31%)
  • They do more than their spouse to find and make arrangements for the child(ren) when schools are closed (44% vs. 33%)
  • They feel anxious (43% vs. 35%), isolated (38% vs. 25%), and angry (26% vs. 18%)

“Which of the following words best describe how you are feeling these days?”

Angry

0%
Mothers
0%
Fathers

Hopeless

0%
Mothers
0%
Fathers

Sad

0%
Mothers
0%
Fathers

Isolated

0%
Mothers
0%
Fathers

Afraid

0%
Mothers
0%
Fathers

Anxious

0%
Mothers
0%
Fathers

Poll conducted in April 2021 by the Canadian Women’s Foundation, in partnership with opinion research and insights firm Maru/Matchbox. Learn more

“I am bottom of the importance list. My kids and husband are first. I try to do everything to make them feel ok. Feel happy. Be comfortable with the chaos COVID created and have nothing left for me.”

Survey Respondent

“Part-time staff do not have sick time, personal days, etc. It makes it really hard if you need time off to help your children or deal with everything that is going on.”

Survey Respondent

Survey Highlights

Ranked Highest for “What would make the biggest positive difference in your life today?”

  • Affordable childcare
  • Better pay for work
  • Family-friendly workplace policies
  • Opportunities to get better employment

Ranked Highest for “What are the biggest barriers you face today?”

  • Childcare concerns
  • Income barriers
  • Employment barriers
  • Discrimination

“It has been trying. I’m caring for my children and parents while trying to keep myself healthy and well. I also have responsibilities to my employer. It’s been trial by fire. I have had many break downs and cried more in this year than ever.”

Survey Respondent

“The lives all blend together – I am usually running from meetings, to making snacks, and trying to get everything so my family can eat dinner at a reasonable time. And I am one of the lucky ones with some family help with childcare during the pandemic. Honestly, for the women doing it completely solo, I have no idea how they are managing.”

Survey Respondent

Other Key Research

  • Mothers have taken on the equivalent of two full-time jobs: Women reported an average of 68 hours per week of caregiving before COVID-19 hit Canada and 95 hours per week after, compared with men who spent 33 and 46 hours, accordingly.

  • Levels of depression and anxiety in mothers almost doubled: 35 per cent of the mothers reported symptoms of depression in 2020, compared to 19 per cent in the pre-pandemic period.

“I’m a visible minority person of color with children, and a woman. Those three factors have resulted in discrimination in my life. I’m trying to focus on growing my professional career, as well as raise children who are also facing systemic racism … I am tired.”

Survey Respondent

“It is nearly impossible in the ‘normal’ times to be a mother and work a steady career. Juggling the two is both mentally and physically draining. the pandemic is making it even more impossible to be a caregiver to my 3 children and not miss time at work. Losing pay that I can’t afford to lose, losing accountability with my employer, and losing confidence in my ability to be a provider.”

Survey Respondent

Watch

Discussion Panel with Mothers

Featuring Canadian Women’s Foundation President and CEO, Paulette Senior, and CEO at Community Foundations of Canada, Andrea Dicks, with Soala Amana and Chelsea Stellick, two friends of the Foundation, and Lady Laforet, Executive Director at Welcome Centre Shelter for Women and Families in Windsor, Ontario, a Grantee Partner of the Foundation.

Event: Voices of the Mother Rising

Voices of diverse mothers and family caregivers in Canada took the stage at our Canada-wide digital event on June 4.

Tireless Readers Collective Featuring Perdita Felicien

Featuring Perdita Felicien, Olympian and Author of My Mother’s Daughter: A Memoir of Struggle and Triumph, and her mother Cathy Felicien Browne. Recorded May 27, 2021.

What’s Next?

Give So Mothers and Caregivers Can Rise

Your generous gift will ensure diverse mothers and caregivers get the programs and support they need and spark the change Canada needs to make sure all mothers and caregivers can rise.

Give monthly to support year-round

Send the Letter

On April 19, the federal government made a historic announcement to invest in early learning and childcare. This is an important and long-awaited development. Childcare in Canada has been unaffordable and inaccessible for too long, and fractures in the way childcare is administered have become especially glaring in the pandemic.

The promise has been made; now we need to keep all governments accountable today and into the future. Send this letter to your representatives to let them know that you support the effort and will hold them to the promise.

Send the Letter

What The Canadian Women’s Foundation Will Do

The pandemic is part of the story, but it is not the full story. In 2022, we will do another “temperature check” on mothers/family caregivers, and we will learn more about how different groups of women, Two Spirit, Trans and non-binary people are experiencing things differently depending on their identities and the region where they live.
An important part of our role is to contribute to better public policy and governmental responses. The information we learned, along with other research and studies, are very useful for this.
The Foundation supports many organizations that provide services to women, girls, and gender-diverse people in every region of Canada. This information will be helpful to them as they respond to community needs at the grassroots level all over the country.
We are here to move Canada closer to gender equality and justice through excellent grantmaking and systemic change efforts. These learnings helps us steer our efforts in the right directions.

“I feel angry when I think about how much this takes away from women’s and gender diverse people’s self-determination and self-actualization. What are we missing out on by constraining and burdening people in this way? What is being achieved by limiting people in this way?”

Survey Respondent

“I am utterly exhausted. I am so exhausted that no amount of rest can refresh me. I have to be 110% on 24/7. Everyone has access to me 24/7. They say that it takes a village to raise a child. Before the pandemic, even though my village was small, it was there. Even when the breaks were few and far between, they came. Now, I have no village, and I haven’t had a single break in over a year.”

Survey Respondent
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