Empowering Women for Political and Community Action

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We are no longer accepting applications for these themes. The deadline for applications was May 3, 2016. Applications are currently being assessed and all applicants can expect to receive a response by September.

Democratic Participation

For the purposes of this Call for Proposals, democratic participation is broadly defined to include the political and civic realms and those areas in between where women can influence public life and enhance the public discourse.

Status of Women Canada works to advance equality for women in Canada. One of the ways it does this is through the Women’s Program, which provides financial support to projects that focus on overcoming systemic barriers and changing the conditions that hinders gender equality.

Status of Women Canada is soliciting proposals for projects that increase women’s participation in the democratic and public life.

It is generally recognized that “equality in decision-making is essential to the empowerment of women” (United Nations), and that increasing and strengthening women’s leadership in public life can bring change and benefits to other areas and issues impacting women and all Canadians. When women participate fully in the public life of our country, we all benefit from the diversity of perspectives, talent and experience they contribute.

This call for proposals is designed to help create inclusive contexts that foster women’s active participation and leadership in the democratic and public life of the country, whether by: seeking and holding political office; advancing issues of importance to women; and/or using their expertise to influence the public discourse in Canadian society.

Project Objective

Project proposals will require organizations to come together as co-applicants to identify and overcome systemic barriers that lead to women’s under-representation in Canada’s democratic and public life.

Mandatory Project Elements

In the proposed projects, co-applicants may address various aspects of democratic participation, but must include, and will be assessed on, the following points:

  • focus on transforming the conditions that contribute to the under-representation of women in the democratic and public life of Canada;
  • work with confirmed key decision-makers and community leaders to enhance women’s representation in democratic and public life;
  • develop and maintain active and effective partnerships; and
  • use a multi-stakeholder approach to implement sustainable, joint strategic initiatives at the local, regional or national levels.

Theme 1 - Empowering Women for Political Action

In the proposed projects, co-applicants will engage women and institutional stakeholders to facilitate pathways for women to secure and advance in various political leadership roles, including creating inclusive spaces in various political domains. All proposals must be non-partisan and include a strong assessment and organizational reform component to help institutions and decision-makers strengthen women’s voices and influence, both in Canadian public life and in the public discourse (e.g. the representation of women politicians in the media).

Note: Some organizations may wish to include leadership training for women in their proposals; however this should not be the only or primary focus.

Funding for training (e.g. leadership, occupational or otherwise) as part of a proposed project will only be eligible provided that it is necessary to bring about systemic improvements.

As part of the leadership training component for these projects, participants must also receive information and training on:

  • specific and broader systemic issue(s) impacting women,
  • gender-based analysis,
  • engaging, educating and networking with stakeholders, and
  • effective collaborative action to address issues impacting women.

In these cases, up to 50% of proposed project budgets may be allotted to deliver direct leadership training to women in preparation for running for political office or taking on / continuing in elected official roles.

Planned Results:

  • Stakeholders have increased understanding of systemic barriers to women’s active participation in democratic and public life.
  • Through collaboration between partners maximize opportunities and implement effective solutions to identified barriers.
  • Stakeholders have implemented solutions to overcome systemic barriers that contribute to women’s under-representation in democratic and public life in Canada.

Theme 2 - Empowering Women for Community Action

In the proposed projects, co-applicants will engage women, partners and a range of other relevant stakeholders in action to increase public understanding and support on issues impacting women (e.g. examining women’s homelessness and implementing strategies to address its systemic causes). Projects will amplify the voices of women and enhance effectiveness of action taken to improve conditions for women. Specifically:

  • identify systemic issues impacting women, including key issue intersections (e.g. women’s economic insecurity is both a cause and an outcome of violence against women);
  • broaden understanding of these systemic issues (and how they are interconnected); and
  • work with partners to implement systemic solutions to these issues within their communities/regions or at the national level.

With a view to empowering women, projects may also engage women, institutions and decision-makers in conducting assessments and carrying out reforms to create inclusive democratic and public spaces for women. This includes projects that transform the conditions to strengthen the voice and influence of women in public life and in the public discourse (e.g. the under-representation of women leaders in the media).

Note: Some organizations may wish to include leadership training for women in their proposals; however this should not be the only or primary focus.

Funding for training (e.g. leadership, occupational or otherwise) as part of a proposed project will only be eligible provided that it is necessary to bring about systemic improvement.

As part of the leadership training component for these projects, participants would also receive information and training on:

  • specific and broader systemic issue(s) impacting women;
  • gender-based analysis;
  • engaging, educating and networking with stakeholders; and
  • effective collaborative action to address issues impacting women.

In these cases, up to 20% of proposed project budgets may be allotted to deliver leadership training to women to prepare them for taking collaborative action to address one or more of the identified issues within the life of the project.

Planned Results:

  • Stakeholders have increased understanding of systemic barriers to women’s active participation in democratic and public life in Canada.
  • Collaboration between partners maximizes opportunities and implements effective solutions to identified barriers.
  • Stakeholders have taken action to amplify the voices of women and implemented solutions to address an issue affecting women in Canada.

Potential applicants should read the document Is the Women’s Program the right match for me? and the Eligibility Requirements for additional criteria. Status of Women Canada does not fund direct services to women. Please consult Women’s Program officials to determine whether a proposed project corresponds to the focus of the Women’s Program and this Call for Proposals.

Project Evaluation

Selected projects may be required to participate in an evaluation and in developing a common needs assessment.

Performance reporting as well as specific timelines will be determined after the proposed project has been approved.

Funding Available/Duration

To facilitate multi-stakeholder approaches, co-applicants are required to apply jointly for funding to collaborate on and implement a larger, multi-party initiative. Be sure your application includes a description of how all proposed co-applicant efforts amount to a cohesive, larger, multi-party initiative.

An application must be accompanied by a signed (all co-applicants) partnership agreement clearly describing:

  • the nature and scope of each co-applicant’s contribution (who is doing what),
  • a brief collaborative strategy (how co-applicants will be working collectively) to be further elaborated in the early stages of initiative implementation, and
  • the amount of funding requested by each co-applicant.

Funding sought should be commensurate with the nature and scope of the proposal. For instance, projects taking place across Canada could seek funding in the range of $1.5M. Projects at a regional or provincial/territorial level should seek funding in an amount commensurate with this scope. Project duration should be a maximum of 36 months.

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