Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions page. Here, you’ll find the answers to the questions we hear most. These are questions about what we do, why we do it, and how we do it.
If you have a question that isn’t answered on this page, please contact us for an answer.
The Women’s Economic Council is a group of like-minded women who have backgrounds in, or are currently working in, women-focused CED organizations.
Our Board of Directors is comprised of leaders from various women-centred CED organizations from across the country—organizations like Common Thread and Immigrant Services of BC.
We are what you would call “decentralized.” We are an organization that is made up of women from a variety of places, and so we usually meet via teleconference. However, we do have central locations in Thunder Bay, Ontario and Burnaby, BC.
Additionally, our WEC Collective, a new social enterprise (as of 2015) that will implement WEC’s projects, is currently managed by contractors from northern and southern Ontario, as well as Newfoundland and Labrador. This allows WEC to expand its diversity and breadth.
Since we are so spread out, we consider our true location to be more fluid. Our partners , with whom we work very closely, are also located across the country. This helps ensure WEC’s presence where we are needed most.
Community Economic Development (CED) is local economic development that focuses on all of the elements that contribute to economic stability. These are factors like people, employment, inclusion and sustainability.
The goal of CED is to help provide economic security for all people, at a level of income that provides a secure livelihood, in jobs that help the community as a whole. CED recognises that the way to do this is by seeing jobs as linked with the whole of the community. You have to look at the whole picture.
Because of this, CED must be rooted in knowledge held by local community members. They know the community and its challenges best. It is here that we find the roots of solutions that recognise the entirety of the community.
The answer is simple: a woman’s reality is different from that of a man. The problems we face on a day-to-day basis have different solutions, and so we need special advocacy. Women are usually viewed as caregivers of the young and the elderly, and often have other responsibilities within the community.
WEC recognizes that women and men play different roles in the community and each role needs unique solutions.
That’s why we need a special variety of community economic development known as women-centred CED. Though it is built from a similar framework to typical CED, it approaches the problem from a women-focused perspective.
Before WEC started, there was no one doing this kind of advocacy. There was no one using the kind of broad, community based strategies involved with CED to help women achieve economic security. We wanted to change that: women are an important part of the economy and mainstream CED organizations often overlook us.
In Canada, 2.7 million women live in poverty . They make up a higher percentage of the low-income population than do men. And this is especially true with aboriginal women, immigrant women and women with disabilities.
The ability of women to successfully take part in the economy is limited by lack of access to:
- quality child care / elder care
- information & resources
- transportation alternatives
- networking & support
- funding or credit
- training & education
In addition they are less likely to have regular work, and are more likely to work without benefits. All these factors combine to make women particularly in need of aid when it comes to economics.
WEC’s goal is to help all Canadian women achieve economic security. However, we need to use our resources to enact the most powerful change, and that means focusing on women that need us most.
These women include:
- Aboriginal women
- Immigrant and refugee women
- Women identifying as visible minorities
- Women who are exploited in their work – unpaid and underpaid
- Women who have experienced domestic violence
- Women with disabilities
- Women experiencing or at risk of homelessness
- Displaced working women
- Women living on low incomes
- Women in or at risk of persistent poverty
- Women who experience mental illness as a barrier to work
We work to provide help for the women in these areas, but we recognise that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, we need to develop ways of consistently creating customized solutions.
The Council respects and supports the many routes women take to overcome adversity, and we stand in solidarity with all women as we work toward women’s equity, equality and economic security.