As always, it’s a pretty bittersweet time to be a woman. Although there is certainly a spotlight on women’s rights, issues such as gender bias, gender-based violence, the wage gap and other threats to gender equality remain systemic and are threaded through all aspects of women’s lives. International Women’s Day exists to celebrate the achievements of women, while acknowledging that there is still a long way to go in achieving gender parity. This day also draws attention to the forces dedicated to the issues women face – organizations and services for women and by women – many of which rely on grassroots support.
In honour of International Women’s Day 2023, here are six Toronto-based organizations and initiatives that you can support with your time or donations.
Black Women in Motion
Black Women in Motion is a survivor-led organization that offers supportive programming and resources to Black women and non-binary and gender-nonconforming individuals who have experienced gender-based violence. Through Black Women in Motion, survivors can access mental health resources, employment- and education-focused training opportunities, peer networking and financial support.
Black Women in Motion is currently running a Hardware Donation Drive. They are seeking gently-used smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers. Black Women in Motion also accepts direct donations.
Elizabeth Fry Toronto
Elizabeth Fry Toronto provides legal services, including counselling and advocacy, to women and non-binary individuals and their families who are in conflict with the law. Additionally, Elizabeth Fry Toronto offers housing supports, employment supports and transitional programming geared at women wishing to exit the sex work industry and survivors of sex trafficking.
Elizabeth Fry Toronto accepts direct donations and in-kind donations. They normally run volunteer programs, which are currently on hold due to COVID.
Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto
The Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto caters to Indigenous women and their children in the GTA. They provide individual support and group programming geared at providing basic needs, housing stabilization, advocacy, reducing family violence, educational development, meaningful employment and healing from trauma.
The Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto is funded by government programs, as well as public and private donations.
Times Change Women’s Employment Service
Times Change Women’s Employment Service provides free career counselling and other job search-related workshops, training and resources to women to help them gain meaningful employment in today’s labour market.
Times Change Women’s Employment Service accepts direct donations and is actively seeking volunteers.
North York Women’s Centre
North York Women’s Centre provides free group and one-on-one programming for women in need of support. They also offer a drop-in lounge for women, which is currently running virtually. All programming is geared at skill-building, building awareness of women’s rights and social issues and empowering women to make positive changes in their lives.
North York Women’s Centre accepts direct donations and encourages people to volunteer.
hEr VOLUTION caters to young women from under-served communities who are interested in entering STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. hEr VOLUTION programming prepares young women for a career in tech, allowing them to explore and study and career pathways in STEM fields and connecting them with leaders in the industry.
hEr VOLUTION accepts direct donations and posts volunteer opportunities on their website.