The face of poverty in Canada is a woman’s face.

  • One in seven women1 in Canada lives in poverty
  • Over half of single mothers live in poverty2
  • When mothers live in poverty, so do their children: more than one million children live in poverty in Canada3
  • Poverty limits women’s choices and can make them more vulnerable to abuse4
  • Almost half of Aboriginal women live in poverty.5
  • The number one predictor of health for a woman in Canada is her income.
  • Infant mortality rates are higher when their mother lives in poverty. They face increased susceptibility to infectious disease and heart disease along with a heightened vulnerability to mental illness.
  • There are many reasons why women experience poverty – and most are things that can happen to any of us – loss of job, divorce, health problems, abuse or a disability. Women are particularly vulnerable because we often play the primary caregiver role, not just for children but for aging parents.

We want to change the face of poverty in Canada. By joining Women Moving Women, you can help us do just that.

The Canadian Women’s Foundation’s 10 years of research and experience in the area of women’s economic development has taught us that a holistic approach is needed to help a woman move out of poverty. Her journey must be self-directed and focused on building her financial, social and personal assets. We fund economic development programs across Canada that build on women’s strengths and help them to develop all of the assets that will put them on the path to economic independence.

There are three essential ingredients in helping the most vulnerable women on their journey out of poverty:

  • Funding survival needs (child care, food, shelter, transportation). Without these the most vulnerable women cannot participate in economic development programs.
  • Investing the time: economic development programs are most effective when they run for about a year. It takes time to build trust and see real, sustainable change.
  • Empowering women: programs encourage women to set goals for themselves and instill in them the confidence to help them achieve those goals.

The Canadian Women’s Foundation supports initiatives that offer:


  • Practical on-the-job training and skills development
  • Self-employment training – including business plan development, financing support, marketing, business coaching and peer support

In addition these programs go beyond business to address other essential aspects of women’s lives like building confidence, learning to network and securing child care.

Read about the programs the Women Moving Women campaign is funding.

The Canadian Women’s Foundation’s vision is to create the largest national movement of women mobilizing to end women’s poverty in Canada.

We’ll achieve this vision through the Women Moving Women campaign, by bringing together 2500 women to donate $2500 over five years to move 2500 women out of poverty.

Each $2500 donation will fund a woman’s participation in a life-changing economic development program funded through the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

These programs will launch each woman on her journey toward economic independence, and provide her with the best tools to break the cycle of poverty for her and her children. This will in turn create stronger, more prosperous communities across Canada.

Through 17 years of experience and 10 years of research in women’s economic development programs, the Canadian Women’s Foundation has “cracked the code” on how best to move women out of poverty. By establishing the Canadian Centre for Women’s Economic Development, and applying our knowledge and best practices, in the next five years we will support 18 economic development programs across Canada. In doing so, we will support 2500 women on their journey out of poverty.

In addition, the Canadian Women’s Foundation will provide training to hundreds of organizations to help them do this work with thousands of other women, and share our learning with governments across the country.

Strategies for the next five years to move 2500 women out of poverty

  • Increase the number of programs we support and the amount we fund, and continue to provide long-term funding
  • Continue funding self-employment, social purpose enterprises and fund new programs in trades and technology
  • Invest $1million over five years to develop partnership grants to expand programs for Aboriginal women
  • Invest $1 million over five years to develop national women’s leadership development institutes
  • Deepen research and public policy by providing policy/research fellowship grants to:

    • strengthen public policy capacity among grantees and women’s groups
    • build the women’s economic development sector
    • shape and influence public policy issues affecting women

“As women in Canada who have more resources at our disposal than any other time in history, we need YOUR resources to help us realize this vision. It’s ambitious, achievable, and absolutely necessary.