6 Canadian Initiatives, Organizations and Businesses that are Helping Women and Girls Thrive
#BreakTheBias is the theme of International Women’s Day this year. With that theme in mind, we wanted to spotlight and celebrate some amazing Canadian women-run and/or women-owned organizations and businesses that are steadfastly working to dismantle bias, stereotype, and discrimination, as well as create opportunities that improve the lives of women and girls.
Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to get ahead. This is even more true for intersectional and LGBTQ-identifying women. Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough, action is needed to level the playing field. Through their work in fields ranging from business to social justice, health to sciences, these six Webnames customers are helping to create a world that is more equitable and inclusive to women in workplaces, boardrooms, schools, the justice system, and communities. We encourage you to learn more about them below, as well as support their work, or the work of other women-focused organizations near you.
The Prosperity Project – “When women succeed, we all prosper”
The Prosperity Project™ is a registered charity that was founded to prevent COVID-19 from further setting back Canadian women – all women, irrespective of background – from the progress that was finally being made around equity and equal access. They apply an intersectional identities and inclusivity lens to serve women who also identify as Indigenous, women of colour, refugees, persons with disabilities and/or LGBTQ2+
Since 2020, the Prosperity Project has published two annual report cards on Gender Diversity and Leadership in Canada. These report cards are a first of its kind and demonstrate the largest-ever look at women’s representation – over 21,000 women – at the leadership level of Corporate Canada, incorporating intersectional data and inclusion stats across key leadership positions.
In addition to the report card, the Prosperity Project™ champions several other initiatives to ensure women are not forgotten during the pandemic – and are not left behind as we recover economically. These initiatives range from helping charitable organizations that focus on women get funding, to conducting groundbreaking research to understand how COVID-19 is affecting family life, and matching women entering STEM fields with mentors.
Webnames is proud to be a Founding Believer and Corporate Member of the Prosperity Project.
Girls in STEAM – “Because having girls and women active in STEAM careers makes our world a better place”
There’s a persistent gender gap in STEM fields. According to StatsCan, women represent just 44% of STEM undergraduates, compared to 64% of students in other fields.
Now in its 4th year, Girls and STEAM is working to close that gender gap. Organized and hosted by Vancouver’s Science World, Girls in STEAM features two free virtual symposiums, one for girls ages 14 to 16 and another for girls ages 11-13. Registration is open to girls and gender-diverse youth ages 11-13 from across Canada and beyond, giving them an opportunity to discover exciting new careers in science, technology, engineering, art and design, and math – as well as learn about the career trajectories of women working in these fields. Attendees get to participate in discussions, breakout sessions and experimental workshops with 100 mentors from diverse fields, providing real-life connections and examples of women excelling in the sciences and STEAM fields.
Webnames has been a proud supporter and volunteer with Girls in STEAM since its inception.
Aisle – “For safe, secure, sustainable periods that are 100% patriarchy free”
Established in 1993 in Vancouver, BC, Aisle has been a feminist business since its inception — with strong principles of environmental and social sustainability, inclusion, and intersectionality. One of the very first companies in the world to bring modern reusable period products to the masses, Aisle has been a certified B Corporation since 2012 and remains the highest scoring BCorp among period care companies. The business is guided by the principle that all people with periods deserve safe, effective and sustainable options, regularly spotlight models that are trans, gender non-comforning, and body positive. Through its Dignity Projects, Aisle has helped supply hundreds of thousands of reusable period supplies to 17,000+ menstruating people in 18 different nations. While alos providing prvide product development advice, patterns, and financial support to organizations like AFRIpads, Period Promise and GirlPeriod Stuff.
With reusable period products that last up to 5-years and options for all types of bodies, anyone can feel good about Aisle’s products. Webnames is proud to have Aisle as its longtime customer. You can read our interview with their founders, when they were formerly Lunapads, here.
The 50 – 30 Challenge – “Building back even better and consciously more inclusive”
An initiative that launched in December 2020, the 50 – 30 Challenge is an initiative between the Government of Canada, business and diversity organizations that asks Canadian companies, not-for-profit organizations, and post-secondary institutions to commit to achieving gender parity (50%) and significant representation of underrepresented groups (30%) —including racialized persons, Indigenous people, people living with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ2+ community—on corporate boards and in senior management positions. The challenge provides a framework to elp accelerate diversity and equity actions already taking place in many Canadian organizations and to encourage other Canadian organizations to implement practices that tangibly improve equity.
Organizations, not-for-profits and other institutions that are interested in the 50 – 30 Challenge can join Webnames and 1500 other participating organizations by completing the 50-30 Challenge form.
Girl in the Wild – “Giving girls the wisdom to rise n’ conquer”
A non-profit founded by Kimberly McMullen, Girl in the Wild runs free confidence-building camps for teenagers that self identify as girls in the wild spaces of Canada’s Pacific Northwest. Through adventure-based learning, straight up conversation, meditation, mental health and body confidence work, journaling practices and much more, Girl in the Wild helps teenage girls uncover their innate wildness to set themselves free—from expectation, from self-doubt, other people’s judgement, and self-harming behaviours. The camp is led by a group of fearless women mentors who have heaps of outdoor and life experience to share.
Sidenote to those interested, applications for 2022’s Kootenay Mountain camp close on March 15th. You can also browse their merch which helps to fund the free camp along with donations from generous partners.
Aboriginal Women’s Action Network (AWAN) – “An independent voice against injustice to Aboriginal women”
The Aboriginal Women’s Action Network (AWAN) is an independent aboriginal voice that advocates for aboriginal women’s safety, which has been systematically neglected and under-resourced by the government, and for social justice for Aboriginal women and children.
AWAN was established in 1995 due to a pressing need for an Aboriginal women’s group to provide a much-needed voice for Aboriginal women in policy making, women’s rights, employment rights, violence against women, restorative justice, sexual exploitation, Indian Act membership and status, and other issues affecting Aboriginal women in contemporary society.
AWAN has held workshops, healing circles and other interactive activities across Canada for indigenous women to help identify challenges to their safety and social integartion, increase awareness about MMIWG and male violence against women, and providing a safe venue for artistic expression and healing.
WeBC – “Empowering women entrepreneurs to make an impact in their communities and create opportunities in BC”
For 26-years WeBC has provided support to thousands of women business owners to start, develop, lead and sell businesses. Working with regional partners, WeBC assists women entrepreneurs with financing, advisory expertise, training programs, mentoring, and peer network support to help their businesses grow and thrive. Committed to creating an environment centered on diversity, equity and inclusion, WeBC endeavors to maximize the potential of different opinions, backgrounds, and cultural references in all the services they provide to women entrepreneurs. Browse their always full event calendar, a comprehensive library of free business resources, and expansive programming, all aimed at helping women start, develop and grow successful businesses.
The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights. – Gloria Steinem
This International Women’s Day – and every day after – take steps to help #BreaktheBias by calling attention to conscious and unconscious gender bias, discrimination, and stereotyping when you see it, supporting organizations, businesses, and initiatives that prioritize equity, inclusivity, and diversity, and celebrating the achievements of women. Happy International Women’s Day 2022.