Monthly Archives: March 2011

CARE Canada’s Gap Give & Get promotion is back this week!

Support our partners at CARE Canada:

Spring for a cause! Spring Give & Get lets you shop and save money – AND help CARE Canada fight global poverty by empowering women and girls! What could be better?

This is your chance to shop and make an impact this spring! Receive 30% off at the Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Gap Outlet and Banana Republic Factory stores between March 17-20 simply by presenting this coupon – and 5% of the total amount will be donated to CARE Canada. On top of that, this discount CARE coupon can be used in multiple stores, multiple times (sorry, it is not valid for online shopping).

Download your Spring CARE Give & Get coupon now!

With your help, money raised through the Give & Get program directly translates into improving the lives of women and girls through CARE’s innovative work. This money means more mothers and their children have greater have access to clean water, nutritious food, and health services. It means more girls are getting a better education. It means people living with HIV and AIDS get the medicines they need. It also means that the millions of women and men living under the harsh conditions of a changing climate are being supported with the tools they need to keep making a living.

So, from March 17-20, shop till you drop and know that 5% of your total amount will go towards fighting global poverty!
Download your Spring CARE Give & Get coupon now!

Encourage your friends and family to participate. Share this coupon with them by forwarding this message to them –  so they can Give & Get this spring too.

Print your CARE coupon and start saving…and giving today!

CFUW Calls for a Budget that includes women

Budget 2011: It’s time to include women

Canadian Federation of University Women call out the Government’s failure on equality

OTTAWA, March 17, 2011 – The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) want women’s inequality addressed in the upcoming federal budget. “We need a budget for Canadian women and families,” said CFUW National President Brenda Wallace. “We are worried that the deficit will be used as an excuse to continue to ignore the problems facing women. The burdens of the recession and cuts to social programs have been made on the backs of women; it’s time to put women back in the budget.”

CFUW has urged the government to focus on key issues that address the economic and gender inequality that has grown deeper over the past five years. Canadian women desperately need commitments to child care, affordable housing and pension reform to address poverty and women’s economic security.

The 2011 budget will follow the fifth anniversary of the cancellation of the child care agreements between the provinces and Ottawa. “It is time for the government to include child care in the budget,” said Wallace, “Lack of affordable and quality child care affect women’s ability to access the workforce as well as post secondary education and training.” The Harper Government’s Universal Child Care Benefit has not created new child care spaces nor helped families who cannot afford or access quality child care.

Access to affordable housing is another issue that would have a huge impact on women. “A national housing strategy is urgently needed to address Canada’s housing crisis,” Wallace insists. “Affordable housing will help lift families out of poverty, and give women the independence and economic security needed to help them leave violent situations.”

Persistent wage gaps, higher participation in part-time, contract and unpaid work make women more likely than men to be poor. This inequality follows many women into their old age. Ms. Wallace advocated that “Increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement by 15% will raise all seniors above the poverty line. Raising the GIS will give seniors their dignity back, and stimulate the economy.”

Without spending in key areas like childcare and a national housing strategy, women’s economic inequality will continue. This budget is an opportunity to build a prosperous and inclusive future for all Canadians, CFUW hopes that women will be a part of it.

CFUW is a non-partisan, voluntary, self-funded, non-governmental organization of about 10,000 women university graduates in 118 Clubs across Canada.  CFUW works to improve the status of women and girls, education, peace, and human rights.  CFUW holds special consultative status at the United Nations and serves on the Sectoral Committee on Education of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.  CFUW is the largest of 67 national affiliates of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW).


Contact: Robin Jackson, Executive Director, Canadian Federation of University Women
613 234 8252

Susan Russell, former CFUW Executive Director, honoured for her work

OTTAWA, March 9, 2011 – Susan Russell, who served as the Executive Director for CFUW’s National Office for over 11 years, was honoured with a “Femmy” award for her years of feminist activism.  Russell received her “Femmy” last night at Ottawa’s annual International Women’s Day celebration.

Russell has been a tireless advocate for the rights of women in Canada and abroad.   During her term as Executive Director, she leveraged the collective power of the Canadian Federation of University Women to lobby for a Canadian foreign policy that recognized the distinct situation of women in situations of conflict and disaster.  As a member of the Ad Hoc Coalition, she contributed her expertise and her time to ensuring that women’s voices were part of democratic debate in Canada.

A special mention was made for Russell’s commitment to mentoring younger women – her friendship, advice and support is always given with selfless generosity. Women of all ages, from different backgrounds and experiences have all found encouragement, camaraderie and a mentor in Russell.

The event, celebrating 100 years of International Women’s Day, was the perfect venue to honour Russell’s dedication and fierce passion for gender equality and human rights.

IFUW March 8 2011 Update

100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day

Today, March 8th, we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. When Clara Zetkin tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day, it was a very different world, with women demanding not only the vote in some countries but also shorter hours and better pay. A century later, we are still working for equality in many areas.   As we celebrate our successes, we must also re-commit ourselves to the task ahead. We have made progress, but much remains to be done… This Update gives a snapshot of the activities being organized by of some of our NFAs to celebrate what has now become a global event. Let us not forget those women, who had the courage 100 years ago to propose that every year women should celebrate on the same day to press for their demands.
Marianne Haslegrave, IFUW President

Launch of the Museo de la Mujer

The Federación Mexicana de Universitarias (FEMU) has chosen International Women’s Day for the official opening of their new Women’s Museum – “El Museo de la Mujer”. According to FEMU founding president and IFUW Vice- President, Patricia Galeana,  the museum aims both to offer a place where people can learn about the important role women have played in the development of the country, and to promote gender equality and women’s human rights.  It is only the second of its kind in all of Latin America.  Through photographs, texts, graphics and multimedia presentations, the exhibits will show situations confronting women and the feminist revolution from historical periods through to modern times. In addition to displaying the works of well-known Mexican artists, the museum will also feature a document centre and a specialized library.  We wish FEMU much success with this important initiative. 


Some of the Ways IFUW Members are Celebrating

  • In Switzerland a panel organized at the United Nations by Conchita Poncini, Coordinator or IFUW’s Representatives in Geneva, is addressing the theme of “Celebrating Women’s Rights: Higher Education – Pathway to Gender Equality and Decent Work”.  On the panel will be representatives from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the International Labour Office Bureau for Gender Equality and the World Bank to share their views.    Marianne Haslegrave will speak on behalf of IFUW.
  • Members in Amsterdam will celebrate 8th March with a special evening gathering where older members of the Dutch Association (VVAO) in their 70s and 80s will talk with a group of younger members, sharing stories of their student and professional lives.
  • The Canadian Federation (CFUW) is encouraging members to participate in Oxfam’s 100 Letters for 100 Years of International Women’s Day.  To mark a century of women’s achievements, members are writing letters to the their local newspapers about a woman who inspires them; their wish for women living in other parts of the world, their wish for their daughter, niece, sister or granddaughter; the moment at which they became interested in women’s rights; or what we might celebrate on International Women’s Day in the next 100 years.

IFUW’s Status of Women Committee would like very much to hear about any activities your NFA or local group organized for International Women’s Day 2011.  You can send your short articles and photos to

Message from UN Women Executive Director, Michelle Bachelet

In her IWD message, Michelle Bachelet, said that she suspected that the courageous pioneers would look at our world today with a mixture of pride and disappointment. She noted that there has been an unprecedented expansion of women’s legal rights and entitlements, but despite progress over the last century, the hopes of equality expressed on that first International Women’s Day are far from being realized.  She pointed out that almost two out of three illiterate adults are women. Girls are still less likely to be in school than boys. Every 90 seconds of every day, a woman dies in pregnancy or due to childbirth-related complications despite us having the knowledge and resources to make birth safe.  She  remarked that women continue to earn less than men for the same work. In many countries, they have unequal access to land and inheritance rights. Women still make up only 19 percent of legislatures, 8 percent of peace negotiators, and only 28 women are heads of state or government.  She stressed that it is not just women who pay the price for this discrimination. We all suffer for failing to make the most of half the world’s talent and potential. We undermine the quality of our democracy, the strength of our economies, the health of our societies and the sustainability of peace. This year’s IWD focus on women’s equal access to education, training, science and technology underscores the need to tap this potential.

For the the full statement see – .

IWD Message from the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Navanethem Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, saluted the women of the Middle East and North Africa, along with women all over the world who are taking great risks to stand up and fight for dignity, justice and human rights for themselves and for their compatriots. She pointed out that in Egypt and Tunisia, women were on Twitter, on Facebook, on the streets, and marching alongside men, pushing boundaries and breaking gender stereotypes, just as eager for change, for human rights and for democracy.  Ms Pillay warned, however, that the work is far from over.  In these moments of historic transition, it is important to ensure that women’s rights are not set aside as something to be dealt with after the ‘crucial’ reforms are won. Women’s rights should be at the top of the list of new priorities. She noted that while women have played an important role in the call for change, concerns have already been raised that constitutional reviews and the development of reforms are undertaken without their full participation. Only when women participate fully in policy-making and institution-building will their perspective be truly integrated. The concept of democracy is only truly realised when political decision-making is shared by women and men, and women’s full participation in institutional re-building is guaranteed.

For the full statement see

International Federation of University Women
10 rue du Lac, 1207 Geneva, Switzerland¦

Letter to the Editor of the Globe and Mail

Letter to the editor of the Globe and Mail responding to For the free, educated and affluent, welcome to the century of women (March 8, 2010)

To read the original article, click here.

Wente’s argument that all western women have made it and enjoy full equality ignores the reality of many Canadian women who are not, as Wente suggests in her title, “The free, educated and affluent.”

For many Canadian and Western women; free, educated and affluent are not words that could describe their experience. The stats confirm what women can tell you themselves; inequality is real.

Wente claims we are free, while so many are still abused and raped. Canadian women are 4 times more likely to be murdered by their partner than men, and our Aboriginal sisters continue to go missing and are killed without outrage or action.

Wente argues we are educated, but ignores the barriers to access education. Young people from the poorest 20% of Canadian families are less than half as likely to enrol in university as the richest 20%, and for aboriginal children who have $3000/student less in funding for basic education than non-aboriginal kids, Wente’s argument could not be further from the truth.

For affluent women, equality has always been closer to their reach. For women who enjoy that privilege of economic independence and stability, life is not so bad.

However, Wente has blinded herself to the economic disparity that has deepened over the last thirty years in this country.  Women are the new face of poverty; single parent homes headed by women face high poverty rates, in part due to more unstable and underpaid part-time work and lack of access to affordable housing.

Wente’s article has a point; for women who are free, educated and affluent, equality and opportunity have never been better. But that leaves one question to be asked… who are these women? Because a lot of us have been left out.


Brenda Wallace, CFUW National President

Happy International Women’s Day

Dear CFUW Members,

As we share the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day across the country with our friends and members of CFUW let’s take time to celebrate, recognize past efforts and take up the challenge to continue to work for the rights of women while protecting the gains we have made. We have a right to expect freedom from violence in our lives, economic security, personal safety and access to health and education services.

These are the things that CFUW stands for and works for all year long but especially during International Women’s Week. Let us work together for peace, equality and understanding as we celebrate in our communities.  Whether you raise money to educate a young woman, help with a community centre or promote the arts, enjoy this week and celebrate your achievements with like-minded women.

Happy International Women’s Day!


Brenda Wallace, CFUW National President

Support Bill C-393: Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime

What is Bill C-393 all about?

In 2004, Parliament responded to the urgent need for medicines in many developing countries by creating “Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime” (CAMR), with the goal of getting affordable medicines to people in the developing world. Unfortunately, that laudable initiative was, and is, seriously flawed.

But now there is a chance to fix it! Bill C-393 aims to reform CAMR and make it easier to easier for Canada to export affordable, life-saving, generic medicines to developing countries. It is our best hope for fixing CAMR, but it faces fierce opposition from the pharmaceutical industry and some MPs. Bill C-393 could help thousands of people in developing countries survive — especially children.This is an important humanitarian issue that transcends partisan political differences. All Members of Parliament and all parties should be united in making it work.

The future of CAMR — and the lives it could save — depends on you. Join us in applying pressure on Canadian parliamentarians to support Bill C-393. Download our latest update and urge your local MP and Party Leaders to support the “one-licence solution”.

The time to act is NOW. You can also get more involved by sharing this campaign with your friends and colleagues and help us get the word out. Read the key documents below to find out more about CAMR and why it needs to be reformed through Bill C-393.

To read more, click here.