Women supporting communities, communities supporting women.
“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.”
The Women’s Centre provides a safe and supportive space accessed by thousands of women in Calgary.
We offer women opportunities to both receive and provide support, Connect with Others and build community through a variety of programs. While the Women’s Centre is open to all women, 39% of the women who access our services and volunteer their time are living in poverty.
In 2021, the Women’s Centre responded to more than 51,269 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. 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 the Women’s Centre or come in to access our services.
Women seek assistance at the Women’s 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 strive to create a sense of community for women of all backgrounds.
We believe in the potential of every woman, and that women are strong and capable. Our approach starts by recognizing that women are experts in their own lives, and they know best what they need. We also recognize that systemic barriers often prevent women from living the lives they want. Through our Work for Change initiatives, we advocate for systemic changes and new policies that will positively impact the lives of women.
Our trust-based work, supported by over 400 active volunteers, is centred on a philosophy of women helping women. Helping a woman to both get support and give back as she is able provides her with opportunities to feel valued and to maintain a sense of dignity and belonging. At the Women’s Centre, every woman’s participation is equally respected and valued. We know that diverse participation is necessary for the community to benefit from the strengths and perspectives that women hold.