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Equity & Social Justice

CFUW stands for equity and social justice for women and girls. We find and work with effective allies and coalitions that will reduce gender-based violence in all its forms, reduce poverty, and achieve gender equity and equality. We use research to strengthen debate on issues of concern.

For Equity and Social Justice, we focus our actions in relation to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly the following goals:


End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Homelessness, affordable housing, basic income, and food security are among the issues tackled by Clubs supporting this goal.


Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

A major focus of our work on gender equality is striving to reduce and eliminate Gender-Based Violence, Intimate Partner Violence, and Family Violence.


Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and full and productive employment and decent work for all

CFUW advocates for action that enables women to reach their full economic potential, including affordable and accessible child care, pay equity, and discrimination-free workplaces. We worked with universities and colleges on a Pay Equity training program aimed at young women emerging in the workforce.


Reduce inequalities within and among countries

Reducing the effects of homelessness, working towards a basic income for all Canadians, countering colonial violence and anti-Indigenious racism, and ensuring food security for all Canadians, especially in rural and remote communities, are all activities in which CFUW members are involved.

Gender-Based Violence Campaigns

Gender-based violence is a persistent and pervasive issue in Canada. The mental, physical, social, and financial impacts of violence are devastating and cannot be ignored.

CFUW advocates for the elimination of gender-based violence and campaigns for increased support to victims who experience all forms of violence. Our collective efforts help raise public awareness about gender-based violence, improve support and prevention, and put pressure on all levels of government to take stronger action. These are some of the specific areas in which we work:

Gender-Based Violence on Post-Secondary Campuses

15% of women students have been sexually assaulted in the post-secondary setting at least once since they started their studies. Those with intersecting identities, including Indigenous women, women of colour, 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals, and women with disabilities, face higher rates of violence.

CFUW has conducted multiple surveys of universities and colleges in Canada to evaluate the status of female faculty and students at those institutions. For example, CFUW surveyed Canadian universities and colleges in 2017 to compare current policies on gender-based violence. The findings of the research were published in the Sexual Violence and Harassment Policies in Post-Secondary Institutions in Canada Final Report in 2020. The report asserts that universities must continue to improve their sexual violence and harassment policies to ensure a safe post-secondary campus environment. CFUW advocates for post-secondary Institutions to update their policies to support survivors of sexual violence and harassment.


Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Indigenous women and girls are disproportionately impacted by gender-based violence. The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) concluded in June of 2019 with the publication of a final report and 231 calls for action. CFUW advocates for the federal government to take substantive measures to implement the inquiry’s recommendations.


Gun Control

Stringent gun control, including prohibiting citizen ownership of assault weapons, will help make the lives of all women and girls safer. CFUW supports the important work being done by Doctors for the Protection from Guns and the Coalition for Gun Control to end gun violence in Canada.

CFUW Clubs organize vigils to commemorate the victims of gun violence and present the École Polytechnique Commemorative Fellowship Awards in honour of the 14 women murdered at the École Polytechnique Massacre in 1989. CFUW stands against anti-feminism and gender-based violence by supporting survivors, challenging negative or inaccurate stereotypes, and spreading awareness.


National Action Plan on Violence against Women

CFUW joined with the Canadian Network of Women’s Shelters and Transition Houses and other gender rights organizations to publish a Blueprint for the National Action Plan in 2015. The blueprint outlines concise recommendations for the Government of Canada to address gender-based violence. The federal government published their National Action Plan on Violence against Women and Girls in November 2022 after extensive consultations.

Take Action to Address Gender-Based Violence