Women's Empowerment

Violence Against Women

Did You Know that in Canada:

1.  Women are 11 times more likely than men to be victims of sexual offences.

2.  Women are three times more likely than men to experience criminal harassment.

3.  Women are almost four times more likely than men to experience intimate partner violence.

4.  RCMP reports that well over 1,200 Aboriginal women and girls have been murdered or gone missing in Canada.

5.   Data suggest that one-quarter of female students in college or university have experienced sexual assault or attempted sexual assault; 90% of these students knew their attacker.

Check out more facts right Here.

December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women in Canada. This day marks the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 young women, engineering students at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal. They died because they were women.  The day now represents a time to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society. 

Violence Against Women is a world wide problem. Millions of women and girls are affected by violence of some form every day.  The issues, solutions and ways to make a difference according to UN Women have been summarized Here.

Below are some fact sheets prepared after the CSW 57 in 2013, provided by the Canadian Research Institue for the Advancement of Women pertaining to Violence Against Women in Canada: 

English                                                            French

Violence Against Women - long                         Violence Contre les Femmes - longue

Violence Against Women - short                        Violence Contre les Femmes - court


Climate Change

Climate Change, Women and Gender

Climate change is one of the most urgent challenges facing today’s world. Hardly a day goes by that the media does not report on the devastating impacts of climate change in many parts of the world. Research shows that climate change does not impact everyone equally. The impacts of climate change disproportionately affect developing countries and the poor. And the poorest of the poor in many countries are women.

Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are realizing that climate change exacerbates gender inequalities. Women and men are impacted differently by climate change, and have different abilities to adapt and cope. Some of the research is, quite frankly, alarming.

On this page, we hope to bring this very important issue to the forefront, and to provide BPW members with information and resources that may help them get involved. BPW International is passionately involved in this priority issue.  

You can watch a 2014 video on Women and Water Partnership Here to understand BPW's involvement in this area.  A powerpoint presentation can also be downloaded Here.  

Check here to see how UN women is providing solutions with solar lamp kits in India, green cook stoves in Ghana, training to respond to natural disasters in Vietnam, as well as recycling and waste management projects in Nepal. 


Doubling the Damage: World Bank Climate Investment Funds Undermine Climate and Gender Justice by Anna Rooke (2009).  This paper is a first-look examining how the new World Bank-administered Climate Investment Funds to impact both climate and gender justice.


Gender and Climate Change – Why Climate Change is a Women's Issue (2008)
By Kellie Tranter, Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Legislation for BPW International.

“The recent spate of 'natural' (or nowadays probably more correctly, 'climate related') disasters all over the world caused me to wonder whether their effects are evenly spread between the sexes. Logically, human beings of both sexes should react in much the same way to environmental threats, and in the absence of social factors, any differences in the effect of disasters between the sexes should be fairly small. I was interested to turn up some research that has already been done. I was appalled at what it showed...” Read the Full Report (pdf).


CARE Canada implemented a gender-climate change initiative in Bangladesh, a country with very high levels of poverty and a deeply engrained patriarchal social structure, a country where the majority of female-headed households live in poverty. Click to browse their web site.


OXFAM-Canada suggests that climate change will have a massive impact on development and women’s rights. Click to browse their web site.


gendercc – women for climate justice is the global network of women and gender activists, and gender experts from all world regions working for gender and climate justice. Click to browse their website.


Women’s Environment Development Organization (WEDO) has completed a groundbreaking study for the Human Security Network (commissioned by the Greek Chairmanship of the Network for 2007-2008) entitled Gender, Climate Change and Human Security. Click to browse their web site.


Lesha Witmer is the Chair of BPW International’s Standing Committee on
Environment & Sustainable development.
She can be contacted at:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Women in Politics

International Women's Day 2017: Former Prime Minister Kim Campbell delivers a speech in the House of Commons as 338 young women occupy seats of 338 ridings across Canada as part of the Daughters of the Vote program.  Click Here for the speech and article.


BPW Clubs Gear Up For 2015 Federal Election

BPW Regina

BPW Provincial President of Saskatchewan, Jeanne Martinson was interviewed by Global News to discuss a breakfast event hosted by BPW Regina to focus on women's role in politics and to increase women's political participation and interest. 

Watch the Interview here.

Women in politics champion:

"We want women leaders today as never before. Leaders who are not afraid to be called names and who are willing to go out and fight. I think women can save civilization. Women are persons."  - Emily Murphy, 1931

Women make up 52% of Canada’s population, yet we represent roughly 20% of elected politicians on municipal, provincial and federal levels. Research has consistently demonstrated that women approach many issues differently, to the greater benefit of all. There is an obvious need for greater gender balance when elected officials are making important decisions that affect the lives of all Canadians. BPW Canada believes that we will make greater progress on many issues when more women are represented in the Legislatures of this country.

  • In fall of 2007, we congratulated the Business and Professional Women’s clubs of Manitoba as they hosted a luncheon to recognize the 17 women who were elected to the Manitoba Legislature. History is being made.
  • In October of 2007, BPW Saskatchewan Clubs each held a breakfast to provide a platform and to support female candidates in the provincial election.
  • BPW Saskatoon member Judy Junor, MLA, Saskatoon, prepared and delivered a presentation on how to lobby government. She encouraged us to support women in politics through donations, volunteering to assist in campaigning, creating a platform for public speaking, encouraging women to take on leadership roles.
  • Kathryn Barnes, Moncton City Councillor and member of the Women in Government Committee of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, has been appointed “Regional Champion” for the committee. She put together a committee in Moncton recently, which included BPW Canada then 1st Vice-president Sue Calhoun among others, to strategize on ways in which to get more women involved in municipal elections.

We would like to ask that you share what each of your clubs is doing to promote or support women in politics, and we will include it on this page. If you need assistance with starting a project, check out some of the sites below to see what other women are doing or contact our Women in politics Champion. If you have a resource that you would like to share, please contact us and we will post them on the site.

  • June 2008. Federation of Canadian Municipalities Election Toolkit for Women: The Candidate's Guide to Municipal Elections. This election toolkit is designed to give women considering running for municipal office an understanding of the job, as well as to provide tips and strategies for running a campaign. Read the document. (pdf) 
  • June 2008. Commentary: Hillary’s loss is women’s gain. By Dr. Kari Roberts, Senior Policy Analyst, and Janine Marshall Giles, Intern, Canada West Foundation. “Hillary Clinton is no loser. It’s true she lost the democratic presidential nomination to Barack Obama, but she has made many gains for women in America and beyond. In fact, given the absence of any comparably prominent women in Canadian federal politics, Ms. Clinton’s record may be the best role model for aspiring young Canadian women today.” Read the full report (pdf).


* Canadian Women Voters Congress – Campaign School www.canadianwomenvoterscongress.org
* Equal Voices – Mandate is electing more women in Canada.  www.equalvoice.ca
* Fair Vote Canada recently published a newsletter Women for Fair Voting www.fairvote.ca/women
* Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Women in government committee   www.fcm.ca/english/view.asp?x=476



For BPW Canada’s policy, see Index of Resolution
For recent submissions to government, see Briefs


Childcare Champion:

Childcare continues to be a high priority for BPW Canada and for working women across the country, whether in rural areas or urban centres.  Since 1994, BPW Canada has been submitting resolutions pertaining to childcare. "Today over 70% of mothers with kids under the age of six are employed and only one in five of these children has access to a regulated child care space". Quebec is the only province in Canada that offers a government subsidized child care program.  It is time to reconcile work and family life in Canada.

Read an article here on how "Women's opportunities are hindered by lack of national childcare policy" - By Laura Hanrahan (2016). 

It was through a June 2006 survey carried out by Environics Research that showed that 76% of Canadians supported a national affordable childcare strategy similar to the 2004 federal-provincial agreement that was cancelled by the government. The 76% support for the previous program was consistent, regardless of whether respondents lived in urban or rural areas; whether their household included a stay-at-home parent; and in all geographic areas of the country. A strong majority of Canadians (77%) considered the lack of affordable childcare to be a serious problem.

There is a childcare crisis in Canada, with only a small percentage of children having access to quality, affordable and accessible childcare. BPW Canada has continuously urged the federal government to act on the needs of working Canadians, and to implement a national childcare program that can meet the early childhood development needs of children, families and communities in this country.

  • Canada lags far behind other industrialized nations in the care and education of its children. A new study from UNICEF found that of 25 economically advanced countries, Canada scored at the very bottom – tied with Ireland and behind most European countries, the US, Australia and Mexico. Canada achieved only one out of 10 benchmarks: At least 50 per cent of staff working in accredited early-education facilities have a minimum of three years of relevant post-secondary education. Read the full report, The child care transition: A league table of early childhood education and care in economically-advanced countries, December 2008 (pdf)

  • July, 2006 - Emergency Resolution on childcare –  passed at the BPW Canada Convention in Toronto in July 2006. (pdf)

For BPW Canada’s policy, see Index of Resolution
For recent submissions to government, see Briefs


Email BPW Canada