Ottawa invites funding proposals from organizations working for women’s equality

By Cristin Schmitz

Law360 Canada (September 22, 2023, 12:31 PM EDT) -- The federal government is calling for funding proposals from organizations that are fighting for women’s equality.

In a Sept. 22 announcement during Gender Equality Week, Marci Ien, the minister for women and gender equality and youth invited women’s rights organizations to apply for funding from:
  •  the “Women’s Economic and Leadership Opportunities Fund” — which has up to $100 million for new projects, or to scale up past projects “that change systems to increase women and girls’ economic security and prosperity, as well as their representation in leadership and decision-making roles”; and
  • the Women’s Capacity Fund, which has up to $30 million to help organizations to increase their capacity to reach their goals, and to participate in activities such as partnership development and community engagement.

The deadline for submitting proposals to the two funding streams is Nov. 3, 2023, at 12 p.m. (noon) Pacific time.

Marci Ien, minister for women and gender equality and youth

Marci Ien, minister for women and gender equality and youth

“Frontline organizations across the country have emphasized the need for reliable and sustained funding to continue providing critical services in their communities,” Ien said in a statement. “In addition to the historic investments we have made with provinces and territories to end gender-based violence, these new calls for proposals will improve women’s economic security and increase the participation of women and girls in decision-making roles, to make sure they can reach their full potential in all spheres of our society.”

The federal government said women’s rights organizations in Canada play a leading role in driving social change by supporting women and girls from diverse backgrounds, both economically and socially. These groups “help women and girls become financially secure, work to end gender-based violence, and provide a critical link to community services and supports.”

The government said both calls for proposals will prioritize proposals that focus on women who are: Indigenous; living with a disability; members of 2SLGBTQI+ communities; newcomers or migrants; Black or racialized; members of an official-language minority community; seniors; young women and girls; low income and/or living in a rural, remote, or northern community.

The call for funding proposals to the Women’s Economic Leadership Opportunities Fund will support projects that seek to lessen or remove barriers to women’s equality and economic advancement and security, which barriers the government said include harassment, discrimination, limited access to mentors and networks and lack of flexible work arrangements.

The Women’s Capacity Fund supports women’s and Indigenous women’s organizations. “Some women’s organizations continue to face challenges, particularly those who work with diverse women,” the government said. “Activities that build the capacity of these organizations will help them support women in the future.”

The government said it will prioritize projects proposed by those that have never received capacity-building funding from Women and Gender Equality Canada.

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