YWCA Canada

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Adapted from material on the YWCA website

Incorporated in 1893, YWCA Canada is a charitable, voluntary organization, which serves as the national coordinating body for the YWCA movement in Canada. YWCA Canada is the country’s oldest and largest women’s multi-service association. With 32 Member Associations operating in more than 400 districts and communities across the country, our programs – which address personal safety, economic security and well-being – reach out to women and girls in nine provinces and two territories.

YWCA Canada is the single largest national provider of shelter to women, children and teen girls fleeing domestic violence. It is the largest provider of literacy, life skills, employment and counselling programs in the country, and the second largest provider of childcare services. YWCA Canada is a member association of the World YWCA which unites 25 million women and girls worldwide and spans 125 countries.

YWCA Canada’s mission is to advance gender equity for all women through informed advocacy and strong Member Associations. Its vision is empowered women and girls in a safe and equitable society. They work to build:
• A strong voice for women in Canada
• A effective women’s multi-service network
• Efficient linkages within the YWCA both nationally and internationally.

During the 1970s and 1980s, YWCA Canada worked to effect positive change in women’s lives on a wide range of issues including:
• implementation of a strong international code for marketing of breast milk substitutes (1981)
• abolition of capital punishment (1979)
• affordable, quality and accessible day care (1981)
• equal pay for equal work and full and equal participation in the work force (1981)
• protection of First Nations, Métis and Inuit women in the Canadian Bill of Rights (1973)
• elimination of legalized discrimination based on colour, race, religion, language and sex (1977)
• amendment of Canadian Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation (1989)
• changing the Income Tax Act to permit women in the home to contribute to, and participate in, the Canada/Quebec Pension Plan (1985)
• combatting racism and racial discrimination (1973)
• reproductive rights and sexual health including the right to freedom of choice and removing abortion from the Criminal Code of Canada (1981)
• informed policy on prostitution and appropriate programs and services (1985)
• social justice at home and globally community through direct action (1985)
• women’s rights to social, economic and political equality (1985)
• violence against women and girls including rape, incest, sexual harassment and wife battering (1981).

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