It takes us all to build an equitable world. The choices we make, the assumptions we challenge and the roles we shift are what drive change. At United Way Centraide, we work to build strong communities where everyone can reach their full potential. While we know equitable communities are stronger communities, we also know have a long way to go. It’s why this year’s International Women’s Day (#IWD2020) theme, #EachForEqual, is so important to United Way Centraide.
#EachforEqual calls on everyone to play a part in making gender equality a reality. Whether it’s in the workplace or at home, we all have opportunities to recognize women’s issues, confront the unique challenges they face, and celebrate their success.
A CHAMPION OF EQUALITY – ONE OF OUR OWN
Ann Divine, a United Way Centraide Canada Board Member, was named as one of Gender and Equity Canada’s Gender Equity Trailblazer. She joins a class of luminaries which includes Olympian Christine Sinclair, Lieutenant-general Chris Whitecross, Senator Chantal Petitclerc, and youth activist Raven Lacerte, among others.
Ann is the founder and CEO of Ashanti Leadership and Professional Development Services, a Halifax company that empowers black and immigrant women to fulfill their economic and business goals.
She is a tireless advocate for women as she constantly innovates and adapts her services to meet her clients’ needs. Throughout her career, Ann has been recognized with many prestigious awards and honours, including My Halifax Experience’s Top Five Immigrant Women Influencers in 2018.
“I didn’t earn my success on my own; others have contributed too. They mentored and supported me along the way; family, church, friends and my community. I want to do the same and make a difference in the lives of the highly educated and intelligent immigrant women in my community who have so much to offer but are not recognized for who they really are. If I can help one to achieve their life ambition, then my living shall not be in vain,” she said.
Ann Divine is the founder and CEO of Ashanti Leadership and Professional Development Services, a Halifax company that empowers Black and immigrant women to fulfill their economic and business goals: https://t.co/fg6UtJbNnE#BecauseOfYou@oanndivine pic.twitter.com/McL4xl7qd6
— Women and Gender Equality Canada (@Women_Canada) March 4, 2020
TOGETHER WE ARE TACKLING PERIOD POVERTY
Over the course of a Canadian woman’s life, she will spend an average $6000 on menstrual hygiene products. Women in rural communities can pay double that. Understandably, low-income women and women on social assistance find it difficult to spend what they need on this necessity. Dignity is at the heart of two United Way Centraide programs that are working to help women facing these challenging circumstances. Let’s take a look:
In 2019, United Way Lower Mainland’s Period Promise campaign celebrated a major breakthrough in the fight against Period Poverty. Their campaign to raise sanitary products put a public spotlight on the issue of period poverty resulting in new legislation to provide free menstrual products to young women at all British Columbia public schools.
Despite this landmark victory, Period Poverty remains a significant issue not only in B.C. but also in the rest of Canada.
“Even with this groundswell of support the need is growing and working collaboratively makes a big difference,” said Program Co-Chair Nikki Hill. “Every year we hear more and more about the need in communities. We hear more about people dealing with these issues for years who didn’t want to speak to anyone about it. It was too embarrassing and there was so much stigma.”
On Tuesday March 10, in celebration with #IWD2020, watch for Tampon Tuesday events in your community. Tampon Tuesday is a grassroots movement that raises awareness of period poverty and menstrual hygiene products for women and girls in need, in local communities. Established in 2009, Tampon Tuesday events take place in more than 40 communities across Canada with United Way, Labour Programs and Services Support. To date, Tampon Tuesday events are responsible for the donation of more than 300,000 boxes of menstrual products in communities across Canada.
EXPLORING GENDERED POVERTY IN THE GTA
The Opportunity Equation is a United Way Greater Toronto research report that regularly tracks income inequality in the GTA. The report, updated in May 2019, shows that women experience poverty differently than men.
“Men have suffered the impacts of precarious employment more recently, but women have always suffered from it,” says Laura McDonough, senior manager of research, public policy and evaluation at United Way Greater Toronto and lead author of The Opportunity Equation. “They’ve always been at the bottom. They’ve always been the poorest. They’ve always been ones who derive the least benefit from the opportunities that they get.”
LocalLove.ca looks at the issue of gendered poverty in the Toronto region in a recent article and puts forward six thoughtful solutions to the problem.
Learn more at Locallove.ca.
WOMEN UNITED – AGENTS OF CHANGE
United Way Centraide is a proud partner of women philanthropists across Canada. Through Women United, United Way has benefited from the insight and wisdom of more than 2,700 women who want to make a difference in 13 communities across Canada.
These leaders are agents of change pursuing the #EqualforEqual vision. Challenging the status quo of male-dominated philanthropy, Women United is a giving circle designed to move the needle on local women’s issues. It’s also a supportive network designed to empower women as community and business leaders.
Join us and make a difference:
[list of WU chapters with links]