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 2015, the Women’s Centre responded to more than 87,000 contacts from women, the majority of which were from women struggling with poverty-related issues.
The 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, earning only 68% of what men earn for full-time, full-year jobs (Statistics Canada, 2009). Women’s average total income in Alberta is 58% of men’s (Statistics Canada, 2011). 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 Women’s Centre makes the community stronger. It lends support and acts as a meeting place for women who are seeking someone to talk to, either to deal with crisis or just broaden their horizons.”