Open calls for proposals: About these calls for proposals

Call for proposals 1: Women’s Economic and Leadership Opportunities Fund
Call for proposals 2: Women’s Capacity Fund

We are no longer accepting applications for this call for proposals. The deadline for applications was November 8, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. (noon) Pacific time.

1. About these calls for proposals

Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) works to advance equality with respect to sex, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression through the inclusion of people of all genders, including women, in Canada’s economic, social, and political life.

Context of these calls for proposals

Call 1: Women’s Economic and Leadership Opportunities Fund (Systemic change)

Women in Canada are more likely than men to have post-secondary education. They are participating in the labour market in record numbers in recent months. However, gaps and barriers remain. These include the impact of poverty on women and the continuing gender pay gap. Family care and other unpaid domestic labour are not shared equally. Women do not have equal access to jobs in higher paying sectors such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Inflation and the rising cost of living further weaken women’s economic security and prosperity. Although more women have become leaders in some sectors, progress is slow. Barriers to women include:

This call for proposals will support projects that seek to change these conditions. Since diverse women face multiple barriers, we will focus on projects that address this complexity.

Call 2: Women’s Capacity Fund (Capacity-building)

A viable women’s movement in Canada is one that includes a diverse range of organizations and perspectives. Some women’s organizations continue to face challenges, particularly those who work with diverse women. Activities that build the capacity of these organizations will help them support women in the future.

This call for proposals will support women’s and Indigenous women’s organizations. We will give priority to projects proposed by those that have never received WAGE capacity-building funding.

Objectives of these calls for proposals

Call 1: Systemic change: The objective is to address barriers to women’s success. Projects can work to change systems to improve women's economic security and prosperity. They can also work to increase women’s representation as leaders and decision-makers through changes to systems. The department will support projects under the following two streams:

Call 2: Capacity-building: The objective is to build the long-term capacity of women's and Indigenous women’s organizations.

Note: You can only submit one application for these calls for proposals.

What is systemic change?

A system is a way of thinking about and making sense of the world. Present-day systems create gender inequality and reinforce it. Systems have various parts, but for this call for proposals, we will focus on the following elements:

Systemic change refers to changing one or more of the above elements. The goal of the change is to allow women and girls to fully take part in the economic, social, democratic, and political life of Canada.

What are systemic change projects?

Systemic change projects aim to remove barriers to gender equality in systems. For example, a group could work with institutions to change policies and practices biased against women.

Systemic change projects do not aim to change women to fit or adapt to discriminatory systems. The following example is not a systemic change project: training women to adapt to an institution’s biased policies and practices. WAGE would not support such a project.

Systemic change projects can work on different elements of a system. In the context of working with the construction sector as an example, a project could:

  1. Change gender norms and attitudes: Work to change beliefs, assumptions, and stereotypes based on gender and other identity factors.

    Example: Train managers and staff in the construction industry to change harmful gender stereotypes. The objective is to support an inclusive work environment. In this case, the system has changed when a survey shows that the training reduced the presence of harmful gender stereotypes.

  2. Support changes to authority, voices at the table, and decision-making power: Work to address power imbalances to ensure women are part of the dialogue and solution.

    Example: Test a mentorship program to promote women in leadership roles in the construction industry. In this case, systemic change has occurred when a company integrates the mentorship program.

  3. Increase networks and collaboration: Build and strengthen partnerships to work across sectors and break down silos. The aim is to increase the reach, impact, and sustainability of gender equality efforts.

    Example: Partner with universities and colleges to hire and retain women in the construction industry. This could include an agreement to hire women as coop students or interns annually. In this case, systemic change has occurred when formal elements are put in place to support the partnership to continue after the project.

  4. Encourage more effective and equitable sharing of resources: Share, mobilize, and redistribute resources to support equality. These can include knowledge, information, and funding.

    Example: Share best practices on alternative childcare arrangements for parents who cannot work the 9 to 5 norm. Work with the construction industry to test the arrangements. In this case, systemic change has occurred when a company has implemented the best practices.

  5. Change policies and practices: Create, change, or remove policies and practices to address sexism and other barriers to gender equality. You can do this at various levels, including in organizations, governments, and sectors.

    Example: Develop human resources policies to prevent and address sexual harassment at work. In this case, systemic change has occurred when the company adopts the policies.

Projects should work on elements that will lead to meaningful change. They do not need to address every element listed above.

Key components of a systemic change project

While there is no standard approach to systemic change, here are key components to guide your project:

What is capacity-building?

Activities that build capacity are those that increase an organization's ability to reach its goals. They can improve the way an organization works, how it builds knowledge, and how it collaborates. They also often improve the potential for an organization to be sustainable.

Note: You can only apply to one call for proposals and one stream. This means that you can only apply once.

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