Project Summary

Decent Work for Women Project Summary

The Project

ONN has received funding from Status of Women Canada for a three-year project to apply a GBA+ lens (gender based intersectional analysis) to:

  • Identify barriers to women workers’ economic empowerment and prosperity in the nonprofit sector;
  • Develop and implement pilot solutions to address these barriers at the organizational, network and policy levels

The data and information collected, lessons learned and project successes are being documented and shared with the Ontario nonprofit sector throughout the project. Key activities include a literature review, focus groups and a survey, prioritizing barriers and themes and piloting and implementing collaborative strategies for change.

Key questions the project is addressing:

  • How can intentionally harnessing different perspectives of women working in the nonprofit sector help us identify challenges and solutions related to their economic empowerment?
  • How can we create solutions that address the experiences of diverse women working in the nonprofit sector?
  • Do barriers differ based on different regions and subsectors in the province?
  • What is the relationship between decent work for women working in the nonprofit sector and the sector’s funding models?
  • What shifts in understandings need to happen to move the needle on women’s economic empowerment in the sector? (e.g the charity model, unpaid work, care work, women’s work)

Who are the stakeholders?

Multiple stakeholders within and beyond the Ontario nonprofit sector are involved in various capacities with this project. At the centre of the project are the voices of diverse women working in the sector, which overlap with the advisory council, women leaders from the Gender Equality Network of Canada, project partners and our regional host agencies for the learning circles. We hope to involve other groups of stakeholders identified and have left space for those that might come to the forefront as the project unfolds and progresses.

Etana Cain, YWCA Toronto

Etana Cain is the Manager of Advocacy and Communications at YWCA Toronto, the city’s largest multi-service women’s organization. She works to amplify women’s voices at all levels of government on issues of gender equity, with a current focus on women’s access to safe, affordable housing. Etana has six years under her belt working on Parliament Hill for a Party Leader and a Toronto Member of Parliament. As a former National Board Member of Equal Voice, she is passionate about encouraging women – especially women of diverse backgrounds – to get more involved in politics. Etana holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University and a Master of Arts from the University of Waterloo.

Why are you interested in the issue of decent work for women?

Earlier this year, I wrote an op-ed entitled A $15 Minimum Wage Is A Feminist Issue to draw attention to the disproportionate numbers of women who are precariously employed, particularly women of colour, Indigenous women and newcomer women. The Decent Work for Women project is exciting because it is shining a light on women’s employment in the non-profit sector using an intersectional lens. It will fill significant gaps in the research, ask questions that have not been asked before, and there is a lot of exciting potential for advancing solutions. I am so thrilled to be Co-Chair of the Advisory Council!


Lyndsay Macdonald, Association of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario

Lyndsay Macdonald is a Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE) and the Coordinator of the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO). She has an MA in Early Childhood Studies from Ryerson University and has worked in the Early Years sector for the past 10 years. Her experience includes working with young children in a variety of programs, teaching at the post-secondary level, and working as a policy researcher and advocate. At the heart of Lyndsay’s advocacy work are the passionate and dedicated ECEs who provide quality care and education to children and families.

The following three represent the project at the national Gender Equality Network Canada facilitated by the Canadian Women’s Foundation for the Status of Women Canada.

Elizabeth McIsaac

Debbie Douglas
Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants

Cathy Taylor
Ontario Nonprofit Network

This project is funded by Status of Women Canada