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International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - November-25-15

OTTAWA, 25 November 2015 - Today on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, CFUW directs attention to the ongoing, widespread and systemic culture of violence against women and girls in Canada and around the world.

Together, we call on states to work with stakeholders, including justice, health, education and social service sectors to develop, implement and enforce comprehensive and coordinated plans of action to end violence against women and girls. 

"We are relieved to see the Government of Canada taking action on the Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women, and urge them to work closely with Aboriginal groups, women's groups and the RCMP to find long-lasting solutions to end this violence", says Doris Mae Oulton, President of CFUW. "There is also the very serious issue of sexual assault on university and college campuses, with one quarter of all female students experiencing sexual assault or attempted sexual assault. We call for more education, serious policy and more extensive services to educate young people about consent and their rights. Canada should be a place where all women are safe to live their lives freely and without fear of violence. We compel the Government to take action to make it so". 

On any given day in Canada, over 8200 women and children are living in emergency shelters and transition houses to escape violent partners. Annually over 400,000 women and girls report sexual assaults, yet an approximate 90% of assaults go unreported. Nearly 1200 Aboriginal women and girls have been murdered or gone missing over the last 30 years. We must take action to end this cycle of violence.

Not only does violence jeapordize the security and wellbeing of women and girls, it also has a large economic impact on survivors and Canada as a whole. Spousal violence against women in Canada costs an estimated $4.8 billion per year, including the costs of social services, healthcare, the justice system, and loss of productivity. 

Violence against women manifests itself in a multitude of forms including physical, sexual, psychological, and economic violence. It occurs in our homes, workplaces, schools, and in public places, and can affect women and girls of all ages and backgrounds. Trafficking, forced and early child marriage, female genital mutilation and rape as a weapon of war are all specific forms of violence that disproportionately affect women and girls around the world. 

CFUW is a non-partisan, voluntary, self-funded organization with over 100 CFUW clubs located in every province across Canada. Since its founding in 1919, CFUW has been working to improve the status of women, and to promote human rights, public education, social justice and peace. CFUW is the largest affiliate of Graduate Women International, the leading girls' and women's global organization run by and for women, advocating for women's rights, equality and empowerment through access to quality education and training up to the highest levels. 

For more information please contact:

Doris Mae Oulton     Robin Jackson
President, CFUW     Executive Director, CFUW
204-781-7164 or     613-234-8252 or
International Students Day - November-17-15

NOVEMBER 17, 2015 - In recognition of International Students Day on November 17, the Canadian Federation of University Women calls for states and policy makers to actively promote the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), politics and organization leadership to women students.

As four key strands of research and technological development, it is critical that women’s contribution in STEM is increased and integrated. Despite some improvement, the global average of women in STEM is still at less than parity. Only 10% of the global engineering workforce and 30% of all science researchers in the world are female. In Canada, just 39% of STEM university degree holders aged 25-34 were women, compared to 66% holders of all other university degrees of that age group.

Schools and universities must make these subjects attractive for girls, by challenging gender stereotypes at an early age, and by promoting positive role models of women who have achieved in these fields. Some studies have highlighted a lack of mentors as contributing to later workforce decisions to avoid or leave STEM fields. Low salaries, long working hours and a conflict in work-life balance have also been cited as a cause in the high attrition rate of women in technology.

Doris Mae Oulton, President of the Canadian Federation of University Women states: "The CFUW Mentorship Program promotes positive change for women in the STEM fields, politics and organizational leadership. Now is the time for Canada to increase our response to the challenges faced by female students. We urge the Government of Canada to take a leadership role in the implementation of gender-based policies that encourage and support women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development". With just 26% women of federal MPs, there is significant work to be done to engage girls in leadership in public life.

CFUW is a non-partisan, voluntary, self-funded organization with over 100 CFUW Clubs, located in every province across Canada. Since its founding in 1919, CFUW has been working to improve the status of women, and to promote human rights, public education, social justice, and peace. It holds special consultative status with the United Nations (ECOSOC) and belongs to the Education Committee of the Canadian Sub-Commission to UNESCO. CFUW is the largest affiliate of Graduate Women International, which represents women worldwide.

Learn about our Mentorship Program, grants & fellowships and our advocacy work Follow us on Facebook (CFUW FCFDU), and Twitter (@CFUWfCFDU).

For more information please contact: Robin Jackson, Executive Director at

Gender Parity in Trudeau’s Cabinet and Next Steps - November-06-15

November 4, 2015, OTTAWA - CFUW congratulates Prime Minister Trudeau on the appointment of fifteen women to the federal Cabinet. With fifty women elected from the Liberal Party to the House of Commons, a record in Canada’s history, Mr. Trudeau had an exceptionally talented pool of women from which to choose.

We fully supported Mr. Trudeau’s promise to appoint a gender-equal cabinet. The current female caucus of the Liberal Party includes prominent businesswomen, UN diplomats, leaders of major national and international NGOs, doctors and lawyers. The new female Ministers bring with them a wealth of experience and, importantly, a different perspective on issues facing Canadians.

"Gender balance at the decision making table has a significant impact. Women’s voices influence and the content and direction of decisions. Today Canada got the bold change we needed." says Doris Mae Oulton, President of CFUW.

Mr. Trudeau, in keeping with this fundamental campaign promise, clearly demonstrated that he and his government is ready to move forward. We agree with the answer Mr. Trudeau gave at his press conference this afternoon, when asked why gender parity is important: "Because it’s 2015".

We are confident that Mr. Trudeau will also follow through on his promises to ensure gender-based analysis in federal departments, create a national action plan on violence against women, establish an inquiry into our missing and murdered aboriginal sisters and create a national framework on child care. We look forward to working with him and the new Minister of Status of Women, Patty Hadju, in the reinstated Ministry of Status of Women.

Further to the objective of achieving gender equality in Canada, we urge Mr. Trudeau and the new government to engage in more extensive consultation with women’s groups.

For more information please contact:

Doris Mae Oulton     Robin Jackson
President, CFUW     Executive Director, CFUW
204-781-7164 or     613-234-8252 or
Election 2015, CFUW Statement - October-21-15

Monday marked an historic change in Canadian politics. More than 17 million Canadians cast their ballots, in the highest voter turnout since 1993. A sincere congratulations to Prime Minister-Designate Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party on their win, and to Thomas Mulcair, Elizabeth May and Stephen Harper on their strong campaigns and the seats they won.

Many new faces will be filling the seats in the House of Commons this fall, several of them women.

Women saw a rise in representation this election, moving from 24.6% of elected representatives to 26%. This election the number of seats increased, and went from 76 women of 308 in 2011 to 88 of 338 in 2015.

This election also saw an increase in the number of female candidates, with 472 women out of 1428 candidates, or 33.1%. This is an increase from 452 female candidates from 2011.

While it is encouraging to see these increases, on a global scale Canada's representation of women remains low. Countries like Rwanda, Nicaragua, Mexico, Ecuador, Slovenia, Ethiopia, and the Nordic countries out-perform Canada for gender equality in political representation.

While there continues to be gender stereotyping, and we are disappointed that a full leaders' debate on women's issues did not take place this election, we are confident that the new government and opposition parties will make plans for advancing women's equality. We are very pleased to acknowledge Mr. Trudeau’s commitment to addressing gender issues, highlighting the fact that public policies affect men and women differently, and committing to taking those differences into account when making decisions in Cabinet. We are pleased that the Liberal Party will ensure that federal departments are conducting the gender-based impact analyses required of them. We look forward to working with Mr. Trudeau and his Cabinet to advocate for equality for all women.


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