March 8 is International Women’s Day – a day to celebrate women’s achievements and acknowledge barriers women continue to face, here in Canada and around the world. At the Women’s Centre, this means reflecting on progress made in work to improve the status of women, while recognizing the great amount of work that still needs to be done.
Women in Alberta are more likely to earn minimum wage, or occupy low-paying positions than men. They are twice as likely to work part-time as men, and almost half of those who do so cite a lack of access to affordable child care as their reason for doing so. Women in Calgary are among the most educated women in Canada, but they make only 63% of what men earn. This wage gap is even wider for Indigenous women, women who are visible minorities, and women with disabilities. All this is to say, when you picture the face of a person experiencing poverty, in Alberta that face is more likely to be female.
At the Women’s Centre, we address the complex issue of women’s poverty on three separate but overlapping levels. We provide resources and support to women in times of need, we combat social isolation by offering free workshops and community-building events, and we identify and address root causes of women’s poverty through policy and advocacy work.
This International Women’s Day, we’re asking you to help us in our first area of work, by supporting our Personal Care program. Through our Personal Care Program, any woman in Calgary is able to access personal care items on a monthly basis. Items many of us take for granted, like shampoo, conditioner, pads, tampons, and other hygiene items, can be difficult or impossible to afford for women who are struggling to make ends meet. Items that were once basic necessities can become occasional luxuries for women experiencing poverty, which is why we work to ensure these items are available for any woman in need.
Our Personal Care program is made possible through donations from our community partners, and community members like you. As International Women’s Day draws near, we’re asking our community to support women by supporting a program that helps them meet their basic needs, and live with dignity.
To support our Personal Care Program, click here for a printable list of the items we need the most. Currently we have the greatest need for shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, pads, tampons, and diapers size 4, 5 and 6. Donations can be dropped off at the Women’s Centre during office hours, and online donations can be directed toward this program here. Looking for other ways to get involved? Consider hosting a Personal Care item “thing raiser,” at your own IWD event or social gathering, or share why you choose to support the Personal Care program with your network online, and in real life!