Jessica Howard

Jessica HowardJessica Howard is Senior Writer at the Canadian Women’s Foundation. Having worked as a journalist, blogger, content strategist and university instructor, she believes that storytelling is key to social change. As a mother of two sons, she is also highly knowledgeable about Lego, Star Wars and Superheroes.

On International Women's Day, How Are You Taking Bold Action?

Crowd of women waving hands in the air

Be bold for change!

That’s the rallying cry of this year’s International Women’s Day – an annual celebration of women’s achievements and a call to action for gender parity.

What’s inspiring us today is that we’re already seeing bold action on gender equality in Canada:

-Late last year, the government announced that civil rights activist Viola Desmond will be the first woman to appear on Canada’s $10 bill, a symbolic but significant recognition of women’s and African Canadians’ contributions to Canada.

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This message is brought to you by #GirlPowered!

Girl Powered Girl Council choose their favourite girlpowered messagesThe girl council has spoken!

A cross-Canadian group of girls has shortlisted the most powerful messages from the 1,500 submitted to girlpowered.ca. But, given the sheer volume and awesomeness of the submissions, it wasn’t an easy task.

“How am I going to pick?” asked Brenna, 12, as she and her fellow council members began poring over pages of messages, including “Follow your dreams, even the wild ones” and “Be the girl you look up to.”

New Inspiration for a New Year

Darlene smilingPsst! It’s contagious! And we’re not talking about this season’s strain of the flu.

We’re talking about inspiration, which we can all do our part to spread by sharing positive stories, ideas or experiences that might help others in their own lives.

Inspiration is just what we need at this time of year, when we’re envisioning fresh starts, new challenges, and resolutions (that we’ll actually stick to!). So today, we’re sharing two stories that inspired us in the past year and asking you to share what, or who, motivates you!

4 Tips For Self-Care

Women sitting in cafeDid you come back from the holidays feeling like it wasn’t exactly a holiday?

Are you back at work, staring blankly at a mountain of emails in your inbox, realizing that you never actually had time to put your feet up amid the whirlwind of travel plans, family gatherings, and last-minute-gift dashes?

If your own needs tend to fall off of your to-do list, now is a great time to think about self-care. And it’s not about spending hundreds of dollars at a spa or committing to daily meditation—it’s just about setting aside pockets of time for activities that help you unwind and reset.

Domestic Violence Can Affect Anyone

ClaudineWhen Claudine Lukawesky ran the Boston Marathon this year, her goal had nothing to do with her finishing time. She ran to honour a friend who survived domestic violence and raised funds for the Canadian Women’s Foundation in the process.

“This whole process has made me do things I thought I would never do,” Claudine says. Her friend’s experience and ongoing recovery inspired her to learn more about domestic violence, and find ways to take action.

5 Ways to Lead for Change

Woman smilingWhen you think of leaders you admire, what are their qualities? Perhaps they fearlessly speak their minds, or inspire others by setting a powerful example.

The good news is that you can develop these skills on your own. And there’s no need to wait for a promotion at work to get started. Getting involved social change is a fantastic way to practice leadership skills.

How? When it comes to gender equality, we have a few ideas for how you can lead for change:

Shaneen’s Story: Seeing a Path to Social Justice

ShaneenIn high school, Shaneen Cotterell signed up for ReAct: Respect in Action, a violence prevention program that stoked her interest in social justice. As told to Jessica Howard.

In grade 11, my social science teacher suggested I try the ReAct after-school program, because she knew I was interested in the issues it covered. When I saw that the program talked about things like oppression, gender stereotypes, abuse, and healthy relationships, I signed up and stayed involved through Grades 11 and 12.

Not Cut Out for Traditional Leadership? How about Inclusive Leadership?

Young woman in officeDo you do backflips when you hear the word “leadership”?

Does your inner critic tell you you’re just not cut out for it? That you simply don’t have the experience needed and aren’t in any position to tell others what to do?  

But what if being a great leader isn’t about having all the answers or always being in control? What if it’s about listening and collaborating? Working through networks instead of hierarchies?

Introducing our new President and CEO! A Q&A with Paulette Senior

Paulette SeniorAs a young newcomer to Canada, Paulette Senior wouldn’t have envisioned herself where she is today—stepping into the role of President and CEO at the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

She was 11 when she moved from her grandmother’s home in Jamaica to join her family in Canada, and struggled with culture shock and a new school. “The school system didn’t really value me and didn’t really see me as bright and capable; in fact, it told me the opposite.”

One of Paulette’s teachers decided she didn’t belong in her grade level, so she was streamed into “an incredibly basic form of education”. But when a different teacher later recognized she didn’t belong there, she got the chance to re-join the regular stream.

Stopping the Drop in Girls’ Confidence

Girls with Always branded t-shirtsIf you asked a girl what would make her feel more confident: looking skinny in a fashionable outfit or playing on a soccer team, how do you think she would answer?

There’s a good chance she would stop and think about it first.