Why a Women’s Centre?

Women Supporting WomenWomen’s Centres have played an important role in providing community services and places to gather across Canada and around the world for many years.

Over our own 40-year history, our focus has been improving the lives of women in Calgary.

There is a widespread belief that women have achieved equality. However statistics show that there are still many equality gaps that prevent Canadian women from fully participating and excelling in society.

In 2016, the Women’s Centre responded to more than 100,000 contacts from women, the majority of which were from women struggling with poverty-related issues.

Women's CentreThe impacts of poverty on women are significant. Women experience poverty at a greater rate than men. In Alberta, women continue to lag behind men economically. Women get paid less than men for the same work, regardless of education, occupation, age or hours. Alberta has the largest pay gap in Canada. Women working full-time, full-year earn on average only 63% of what their male counterparts do, or $31,100 less than men on average (and as much as $35,000 less in Calgary). Minimum wage earners are far more likely to be women, many of whom are raising children alone. Women are further marginalized by age, ethnicity, ability or immigration status.

Every day, hundreds of women call our Centre or come in to access our services. Women seek assistance at the Centre with issues as diverse as poverty and hunger, family breakdown, parenting, homelessness, unemployment, health and education, immigration and settlement, domestic violence, isolation and loneliness, life transitions and discrimination. They may be new to the city, experiencing family breakdown, looking for work or simply a place to belong.

We also strive to continue working with women after their immediate needs are met.  By offering a safe, open, drop-in space where women can use public computers, have a coffee and attend free workshops, we hope to create a sense of community for women of all backgrounds.

Why do we need a Women’s Centre? One of the women who got support at the Centre says it best:

“The community is enriched because each woman who uses and contributes to the Centre feels welcome, supported, and capable of bettering her life which in turn improves the community.”