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YWCA Edmonton is a strong, reputable voice for women in our city. We were founded in 1907 to offer young women newly arrived in our city a safe place to stay, and training for employment. Through the next hundred years, we grew and evolved with Edmontonians, responding to the ever-changing issues and the needs of a growing population.

Today, YWCA Edmonton works towards our vision of a world of equality, opportunity and choice for women by providing leadership, education and supportive programming for women, girls and families, and by advocating for and working towards women’s equality in the economic, social and political realms. Our vision flows directly from the World YWCA mandate to “Develop the leadership and collective power of women and girls around the world to achieve human rights, health, security, dignity, freedom, justice and peace.” Our advocacy activities and programming support and forward the World YWCA’s goal: “By 2035, 100 million young women and girls will transform power structures to create justice [and] gender equality.”

Feminist and gender-equity analyses inform everything we do, responding to gender-based barriers and gender-biased culture in Canada. Leadership and counselling programs empower participants and clients to claim agency, rights and equal treatment. Educational camp programs for young people of all genders model positive interactions, dismantle stereotypes and promote understanding and acceptance of difference. Disability Services forward economic equity through respite services that allow caregivers (primarily women) to re/enter the workforce. Subsidies are available for ALL our programming, recognizing the disadvantaged economic status of women and women-headed families.

“We know from our own history and experience that reorganizing and reprogramming for the needs of the community is a monumental undertaking. With this investment from the Government of Canada, we are more confident in our long-term growth.”

– Leslie Allen, CEO YWCA Edmonton

We work with local and provincial politicians, school boards, Edmonton Police Services and local leaders and change-makers work to raise awareness, education and positive change on domestic violence, human trafficking, housing access, childcare, community safety and equal political representation. However, social change work and programming to equip women and girls with tools, resources, knowledge and support is not at all lucrative in the monetary sense. In recognition of women’s unequal financial status, all our programs are offered with access to subsidies, often at close to 100%. While the work we do is valuable, often life-changing and society-shifting, we are constantly faced with a shortage of resources to meet our goals and programming needs.

Yesterday’s capacity-building funding announcement from the Government of Canada recognizes the vital role women’s organizations play as part of our society. With up to $4 million being invested in 11 women’s organizations throughout Edmonton and Northern Alberta, we are all able to grow our ability to advance gender equality.

YWCA Canada, founded in 1870, is the oldest and largest women’s social service organization in the country. Since our inception, YWCA Edmonton has been involved in many important social service programs for women and children in Edmonton, including the city’s first sexual assault center. With this significant investment of $150,000 over three years, YWCA Edmonton will be able to continue our work towards ending violence against women and girls, improving women’s and girls’ economic security and prosperity and encouraging women and girls in leadership and decision-making roles.