Women & The Economy: Key Organizations in Canada’s Gender Equity Movement
Canada has made significant strides in advancing women’s rights and gender equity over the past few decades. However, Canadian working women continue to face economic disadvantages and workplace discrimination. As the world grows increasingly globalized, these challenges are exacerbated by complex economic forces that disproportionately affect women. Canada’s gender equity movement plays a vital role in empowering women economically and protecting their rights.
Women and The Economy
Women make up nearly half of Canada’s workforce, yet they earn less than men in similar roles and face difficulties accessing high-paying jobs. Unpaid domestic responsibilities also fall predominantly on women, limiting their engagement in the workforce. These economic disadvantages are influenced by world dynamics like globalization and migration, trade liberalization, and the status of women in developing countries. Canadian organizations serve as important advocates for women’s economic empowerment both domestically and worldwide.
Economic Globalization and Its Impact on Women
Economic globalization has transformed Canada into an interconnected economy strongly impacted by global capital flows and multinational corporate interests. This has changed the nature of work, introducing more temporary and informal types of work that often exploit female workers.
Migration plays an increasing role in filling essential jobs as more women join the global workforce. Migrant women in Canada face particular vulnerabilities, as temporary foreign worker programs restrict their labour rights and mobility. Many also perform unpaid reproductive labour, working as domestic workers, caregivers, or cleaners in private homes.
As a result, women in the workplace worldwide face harsh working conditions, lower wages, discrimination and limited entitlements – violating their basic economic rights and security.
West Coast LEAF: Advocating for Women’s Economic Rights in Canada
Based in Vancouver, British Columbia
Founded in 1985
- Child Welfare Advocacy Communities of Practice
- Gender Equality Report Card
- Job opportunities
West Coast LEAF is a BC-based legal advocacy organization promoting gender justice under Canadian law. Their key focus areas include access to justice, economic security and workplace rights.
To address economic security for Canadian women, West Coast LEAF partners with agencies supporting women in transitioning out of abusive relationships or poverty. They also advocate for better maternity protections and affordable childcare options.
Regarding access to the highest-paying jobs in Canada top-paying careers, West Coast LEAF pressures both public and private sector employers to provide equal opportunities, root out unconscious bias in hiring and promotions, enforce pay transparency, and close the gender wage gap.
To combat sexism in the workplace, they offer legal advice and representation to women facing pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment, unfair dismissal or inequality in the workplace.
West Coast LEAF also confronts human rights violations in Canada stemming from the economic marginalization of minority women – including migrant workers, domestic workers, Indigenous women and other racialized communities.
Oxfam Canada: Global Efforts in Women’s Economic Empowerment
Part of Oxfam International, founded in 1963
Work in over 70 countries
Call Phone: 1-800-466-9326
- Securing Rights for Bangladeshi Women Workers
- Women’s Voice and Leadership initiatives
Support their work:
- Become a member
- Purchase Oxfam Unwrapped Gifts
As part of the global Oxfam network, Oxfam Canada leads international development projects focused on overcoming poverty, hunger and injustice worldwide. Their programs emphasize supporting women’s rights and leadership.
Women and the economy remain severely impacted by entrenched gender roles, discrimination and lack of fair wages or labour rights protections. Oxfam partners with groups dedicated to transforming such challenges.
Economic globalization, trade and financial deregulation have enabled corporations to dominate global supply chains – perpetuating poverty wages and poor working conditions, largely faced by women.
The rights of migrant workers are another key focus area for Oxfam, as women migrants remain uniquely vulnerable to abuse. They advocate for policies and responsible business practices to defend women’s safety, dignity and basic rights.
Towards Economic Equity – Challenges and Opportunities
Feminist economics offers an alternative perspective emphasizing social well-being, sustainability, cooperation and equality over maximizing profits and individualism. Applying these lenses could lead to greater gender equity.
Additionally, programs aimed at increasing financial advice for women – providing mentoring and building financial skills – can empower women in economic decision-making at personal and professional levels.
Finally, expanding opportunities for women to enter high-paying careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields remains vital in working towards economic justice over the coming years. Organizations like West Coast LEAF and Oxfam Canada continue leading impactful efforts to promote the economic rights, empowerment and workplace equality of women in Canada and worldwide. As the world faces rapid changes driven by globalization and migration, supporting gender equity through legal protections, corporate accountability, financial access, and educational opportunities for women becomes more crucial than ever. Sustained advocacy and networked activism is key to driving this mission in policy and practice at all levels of the economy.