Open call for proposals

Apply by: March 25, 2021


About this call for proposals

The Department of Status of Women Canada 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. One way that the Department does this is through the Women’s Program.

The purpose of the Women’s Program is to address or remove systemic barriers impeding the progress and advancement of women, in all their diversity, in three priority areas:

  • Encouraging women and girls in leadership and decision-making positions
  • Improving women’s and girls’ economic security and prosperity
  • Ending gender-based violence

Since the COVID-19 virus took hold in Canada, the impacts of the pandemic have exposed gaps in our systems and amplified existing inequalities for women across the country. Women have faced increased job losses, reduced hours of work, have shouldered the majority of additional unpaid care responsibilities at home and continue to be on the front lines of the pandemic. At a time of greater confinement, there have also been widespread reports of increased intimate partner and other forms of violence. These impacts have been further compounded for Indigenous women, racialized women and other underrepresented groups of women.

With the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, recent funding has supported critical needs related to women’s safety through $100 million in emergency funding for organizations providing supports and vital services to those experiencing gender-based violence. To ensure that progress on gender equality is not rolled back as a result of the pandemic, there is a need to accelerate systemic change for women across economic, social and political spheres.

This call for proposals provides the flexibility for organizations to be responsive to the broad and diverse systemic issues that need to be tackled to build back better, support a feminist response and recovery from the pandemic that is inclusive of diverse women, and advance gender equality across Canada.

Objective of the call for proposals

The objective of this call for proposals is to fund eligible organizations to support a feminist response and recovery from the current impacts of COVID-19, particularly for underrepresented women, through systemic change projects across the Women’s Program three priority areas.

What is systemic change?

Under this Feminist Response and Recovery Fund, systemic change for women refers to modifying one or more elements within a system in a way that allow women and girls to fully participate in the economic, social, democratic and political life of Canada. Elements within a system include policies and practices; resource distribution; networks and collaborations; authority, voices and decision-making; and gender norms and attitudes.

Systemic change addresses or removes the root barriers preventing gender equality, rather than seeking to change women to adapt to discriminatory systems.

Key action areas

In this call for proposals, the Department is supporting projects that seek to address gender inequality for women through one or more of the following action areas that touch upon elements within a system:

  • Advancing inclusive policies and practices: Address sexism and other barriers to gender equality at the organizational, governmental, legislative and sectoral levels through the creation, modification or the removal of policies and practices
  • Encouraging more effective and equitable sharing of resources: Address how key resources such as knowledge, information and funding are shared, mobilized and redistributed to address barriers to equality
  • Increasing networks and collaboration to accelerate systemic change: Build and strengthen partnerships to work across sectors and break down silos, with an aim to increase the reach, impact and sustainability of gender equality efforts
  • Supporting positive distribution of authority, voices and decision-making power: Address unequal power structures to ensure those directly affected by gender inequality and with lived experiences are part of the dialogue and solution
  • Addressing persistent harmful gender norms and attitudes: Challenge standard beliefs and assumptions (e.g. stereotypes) on how people should think and act based on their gender and other intersecting identity factors

It is not necessary for projects to address all of the elements noted above, but rather to find and tackle those that will lead to meaningful change. Projects funded under this call for proposals will serve as building blocks toward systemic change and will lay the groundwork for future efforts to advance women’s equality.

Next steps

Click here to find information specific to the development of an application. Read the eligibility information and instructions on how to apply in their entirety as they contain important details on the information and supporting documentation that is required to assess your application.