International Women’s Day 2018: How can you #PressforProgress?

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are a universal call to transform communities at the local and global level. Through 17 goals, the SDGs target root causes of challenges that face communities worldwide at the local and global level, including poverty, inequality, environmental sustainability, infrastructure, climate change and infrastructure.

On International Women Day 2018, the SDGs offer a powerful call to action, with their commitment to ‘leave no one behind’. All of the areas addressed by the SDG disproportionately affect women and girls, and SDG 5 specifically declares ‘Gender equality’ a priority on the global stage, and identifies 9 targets that urge all sectors to commit to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”.

How can you get involved?

Women and girls come to conversations about gender (in)equality with a diversity of lived experiences, with perspectives shaped by factors connected to the community where they live, their socio-economic reality, racism and forces of colonization, age, and a host of other factors.

Within this diversity, the SDGs offer some core ways that we can all work towards greater gender equality. Here are a few ideas by the Global Goals that you can commit to in your own community:

Do you have other ideas about how you can work towards gender equality in your own community? Join the conversation with #IWD2018 and #PressforProgress.

Need some inspiration?

Communities organizations in all parts of Canada are creating space for conversation and action. The projects below highlight the diversity of women’s voices and experiences, and share an underlying theme – a commitment to inspiring, empowering, and encouraging women and girls towards a future rooted in gender equality.

Walking Together – Women’s Perspectives on Community Building (Mission BC) – The Women’s Resource Society of the Fraser Valley conducted this collaborative community art project that brings women from all “walks” of life together under the auspices of creating art to inspire conversations, connections and community. The “herstory” of the women will be represented on public display, and the process will create space for women to exchange their stories, develop new support relationships, and become more engaged in their community (Abbotsford Community Foundation).

Walking With Our Sisters (Calgary, AB) – WWOS has hosted a series of community conversations with Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to raise awareness and understanding about Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women. Following the conversations, a travelling exhibit on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women will be hosted at Mount Royal University through the spring of 2018 to honour the lives of the women and girls; to acknowledge the on-going grieving process the family and friends of those missing are going through; and to raise public awareness (The Calgary Foundation).

Célébrons les Multicultur-Elles de demain! (Toronto, ON) – LEO (LEO (LEADERSHIP – ESPOIR – OPPORTUNITÉ) CHARITY organized a leadership camp targeting 40 young Francophone immigrant/racialized minority women in the Toronto region. Among the activities, participants heard the experiences of successful women in leadership positions, shared their own experiences through discussions, and built community among young Francophone immigrant women to encourage their collaboration and to increase feelings of belonging and inclusion (Toronto Foundation).

From the Roots (Ottawa, ON) – Through this project, the Immigrant Women Services of Ottawa works to create an opportunity for immigrant women and girls to gain self-confidence, build self-esteem and community in an inclusive environment, free from oppression. This project provided participants a chance to share personal stories, build leadership, communication and theatre skills and take part in intensive creative programming- that will support them on and offstage- and co-create plays that addresses ongoing conflicts they’re facing as immigrant women and girls in Canada (Ottawa Community Foundation).

Me-tisse ta communauté (Montreal, QC) – The Carrefour de ressources en interculturel hosted a project that aimed to decolonize space for women. A group of 190 women were invited to work with two designers – a Québécoise and a new Canadian – to host conversations about the connection between traditional dress and cultural pride. Participating women were encouraged to speak about their own traditional dress and to co-create a new outfit that blends their traditions with those of Québec (Fondation du Grand Montréal).

Georgina Pope Exhibition (Summerside, PE) – The Prince Edward Island Museum developed an exhibit to highlight the life and accomplishments of Islander Georgina Fane Pope, renowned for her groundbreaking career as a nurse. This exhibition celebrated Pope’s many “firsts” and exposed her story to a younger generation. Her story is an inspiration to women and to Islanders as she was a pioneer in a fledgling profession and an innovator and leader in military nursing (Community Foundation of Prince Edward Island).

Celebrating the Legacy of Women’s Leadership (St John’s, NL) – YWCA St. John’s engaged the community in local activities which celebrate the unique ways in which women have shaped – and continue to shape – the community/province.  This was done through existing support networks as will be done through the strengthening of support networks, as well as through building new mentorship and peer support opportunities such as the Young Women’s Collective which was just launched earlier this year (Community Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador).

Majjarniq workshop series (Iqaluit, NU) – Local organization Qanak hosted workshops to teach Inuit women how to properly scrape, clean and dry a sealskin. This workshop is an effort to strengthen those skills in Iqaluit, as colonization has interrupted the transfer of these skills in many families, and this workshop is a space for physical and verbal expressions of cultural reclamation. The workshops are a way for families who have kept the skills alive to share them and help heal the knowledge pathways in other families (Tides Canada Initiatives Society).

The projects described above were supported by the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between the Government of Canada and community foundations from coast to coast to coast. In total, the Fund granted over $440,000 to 53 projects that had a specific focus on women and girls.


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