Category Archives: Information

Amnesty International: End Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls in Nicaragua

Rape and sexual abuse are widespread in Nicaragua. More than two thirds of reports to police from 1998 to 2008 involved girls under the age of 17. Many girls do not speak out, fearing that they will be blamed. Many also do not receive the support they need to recover and seek justice. Instead, most girls suffer in silence.

Amnesty International has met with many survivors of sexual violence in Nicaragua and we wanted to provide an avenue for them to share their stories and speak out. We have launched a new website: which includes the stories of survivors and women’s rights advocates, as well as more information on access to justice, shelters, and support in Nicaragua.

We are also inviting our members and supporters to take a second essential action of sending a much needed message of solidarity to women and girls in Nicaragua, by creating a virtual butterfly. We chose the butterfly image because of our work with women’s rights defenders in Nicaragua. Martha Munguía, the Executive Coordinator of the Nicaraguan Alliance of Women’s Centres told Amnesty International,

“For us, the butterfly is a symbol of the desires to realise our dreams, to spread our wings and multiply into so many women and girls that can fly like butterflies from one place to another, from one country to another, fighting with strength for our rights.”

Individuals can use the online tool to create a butterfly message that Amnesty International will deliver to the women and girls of Nicaragua for them to use in demonstrations in September.

This year is Amnesty International’s 50th Anniversary, and we are focusing on ending sexual violence against girls in Nicaragua as a global action for our members around the world. More details on our global campaigns is available on our new website:

CFUW Calls On Government to Put Human Health Before the Asbestos Industry


OTTAWA, June 16, 2011 – “It’s time to put human health ahead of the asbestos industry” was the message sent to Prime Minister Harper today. Brenda Wallace, National President of the Canadian Federation of University Women, called on PM Harper to stop preventing the UN Rotterdam Convention from adding chrysotile asbestos to its list of hazardous substances.

It is well recognized that many countries who import chrysotile asbestos have lax standards for safe handling of the product. For fear that it will not be handled safely, most countries have either severely restricted or banned the use of all forms of asbestos, including chrysotile. Canada’s failure to take action on this issue is contributing to the premature deaths of many thousands of people in countries with poor standards.

The Convention promotes responsible trade by requiring that “prior informed consent” be obtained before a country exports a hazardous substance on its list. The Convention’s Chemical Review Committee has repeatedly called for chrysotile asbestos to be put on the list, but Canada has refused. Harper and Minister Christian Paradis have said that Canada will continue to block the listing.

“It is indefensible for Canada to continue to block the listing, and their actions are bringing shame on Canada’s international reputation,” said Wallace, “We call on PM Harper to do the right thing: Support the Rotterdam Convention and human rights, not the asbestos industry.”

CFUW is a non-partisan, voluntary, self-funded organization of close to 10,000 women university graduates, students and Associate Members in 113 Clubs across Canada that works to improve the status of women and human rights, education, social, justice, and peace. CFUW holds special consultative status with the United Nations (ECOSOC) Commission on the Status of Women and belongs to the Education Sector of the Canadian Commission to UNESCO. CFUW is the largest of the 67 affiliates of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW).

For more information contact:
Robin Jackson,, 613-234-8252 ext. 102

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

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

Unpaid Work and Canada’s Long Form Census

CFUW has released a new tool kit for clubs and members on the impacts of the recent changes to Canada’s long form census.

CFUW testified before the Standing Committee on the Status of Women at the House of Commons in November 2010 on the changes to the long form census. Canceling the mandatory long form census and removing questions about unpaid work will impact women’s equality and other equality seeking groups like immigrants, aboriginals and low income Canadians.

In this tool kit you will find information on the issue and ways you can get involved with your club, and your community.

To access the tool kit and other advocacy resources, click here.

Child care can boost the economy

In the weeks leading up to the 2011 Budget CFUW would like to see  federal investment in a national child care program for families and to strengthen the economy.

Investing in child care provides the greatest economic benefit of all sectors of the Canadian economy:

  • Biggest job creator: investing $1 million in childcare would create 40 jobs: at least 43% more jobs than the next highest industry and four times the number of jobs generated by $1 million in construction spending.
  • Strong economic stimulus: every dollar invested in childcare increases the economy’s output (GDP) by $2.30. This is one of the highest GDP impacts of all major sectors.

Canadian governments have invested considerable amounts in infrastructure and construction industry stimulus during the past year. This study shows that investments in our social infrastructure, and especially in child care are critical and provide a much stronger economic boost.

To read more from our partners at CUPE, click here.

Civil society input for UN Women – Beyond 100 days

The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) was among the members of GEAR (Gender Equality Architecture Reform) that recently sent suggestions for UN Women’s priorities beyond 100 days. CFUW recommended the following:

  • Meet the Millennium Development Goals with an emphasis on: Primary education for all; Elimination of violence against women and girls; Women’s economic sustainability (to eliminate poverty); Adequate food, clean water, shelter; Access to health care ‐ with special emphasis on maternal and child health, combating HIV/AIDS, and universal access to vaccinations and mosquito nets to eliminate the spread of disease.
  • Implement UNSCRs 1325, 1820, 1882, 1888 and 1889 on peace and security for women and girls.
  • Focus on the achievement of the goals of the Beijing Platform for Action and CEDAW with attention to leadership development for women.

Read the rest of this post where it was originally posted: