Government of Canada announces funding to improve economic security for women in professional sport

News release

November 14, 2023 – Toronto, Ontario — Women and Gender Equality Canada

Stereotypes, discrimination, and bias contribute to gender inequity in women's professional sport, limiting the industry’s economic and social potential. Investment in women’s sport provides leadership and career opportunities for Canadians.

Today, the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth announced $325,000 for Canadian Women & Sport, to support the Commercial Women's Sport Initiative, which aims to:

  • Shift mindsets on the economic value and investment potential of women’s professional sport
  • Enhance capacity to embed intersectional gender equity into women’s professional sport

This will be achieved through a network of champions, continued research on the business and social value of these investments, a communications campaign, outreach to stakeholders in the sports industry, as well as measurement and evaluation activities.

Minister Ien also participated in a roundtable discussion with Allison Sandmeyer-Graves, CEO of Canadian Women & Sport, and other industry leaders, to discuss the barriers faced by women in professional sport and to chart a path forward.

Women and Gender Equality Canada is invested in both the economic and social benefits of women’s professional sport. The Government of Canada will continue to collaborate with women’s organizations to support initiatives that advance gender equality.


“Women’s pro sports are more accessible and engaging than ever before, though we know that there is still a significant amount of untapped economic potential. The Government of Canada is proud to support Canadian Women & Sport as they work to unlock this potential, while also bringing the industry together. Canadian women’s pro teams are among the best in the world, and they deserve to be supported in every way.”

The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth

"A vibrant professional women's sport market in Canada will create a virtuous cycle of commercial and societal benefits - benefits that will empower many girls and women to reach their full potential. There is a role for everyone to play in building this industry and we are thrilled the Government of Canada is investing in the professional women's sport movement as a way to accelerate economic security and prosperity for women. Thank you to the Government of Canada for your commitment to change."

Allison Sandmeyer-Graves, CEO, Canadian Women & Sport

Quick facts

  • Budget 2023 allocated $160 million over three years, starting in 2023-24, for the Women’s Program to provide funding to organizations in Canada that serve women. 

  • In a recent survey, 76 percent of girls in Canada reported that sport participation enhances their mental and emotional health and builds their confidence (Data Source: Canadian Women & Sport 2022 Rally Report).

  • The Government of Canada is committed to achieving gender equality in sport at every level by 2035 (Data Source: Canadian Heritage News Release: Supporting Gender Equality in Sport).

  • Canadian Women & Sport is the leading voice and authority on gender equity and inclusion in sport in Canada. For over 40 years, the organization has driven progress by working directly with sport organizations and leaders to address the barriers to participation women and girls continue to face. 

Associated links


Nanki Singh
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth

Media Relations
Women and Gender Equality Canada

Greg McIsaac
PR Consultant for Canadian Women & Sport

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