Crabtree Corner staff and volunteers

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the YWCA

Thursday, August 5, 2021

We learn again and again that we are stronger when we work together and strive for a common goal. At the YWCA, that goal is to achieve women’s equality. 

This includes the full realization of equality for women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people. As an equity-seeking organization, we also stand in solidarity with Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. 

We recognize that solidarity requires an examination of the structures and systems within which we work, that privilege some while oppressing others. This is often uncomfortable work, but it is the only way to make meaningful progress. 

To move this work forward for our organization and across program and service delivery, the YWCA has three staff committees: truth and reconciliation, gender inclusion and racial equity. We have also retained Bakau Consulting, led by Cicely Blain, to support our diversity, equity and inclusion journey.  

The truth and reconciliation committee examines how the YWCA can raise our voice as an ally alongside Indigenous leaders and Indigenous women and girls in their pursuit of the full realization of substantive equality. This group supports truth and reconciliation training for employees, created with Reciprocal Consulting, who deliver the program to all YWCA staff.  

This training provides an opportunity to learn more about Canada’s colonial history and about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) work in Canada. We have integrated calls to action from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, as well as calls to action from the TRC across the organization and annually measure our progress. 

The gender inclusion committee aims to better support trans, Two-Spirit, non-binary, gender diverse and LGBTQ2S+ people. The committee has audited organizational structures and practices and is making recommendations to support gender inclusion. They are providing staff training to foster dialogue and promote understanding of gender diversity.  

The racial equity committee works across the YWCA to create a safe, inclusive, informed and welcoming organization for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour They are also making recommendations, helping guide our work and increase training inside the YWCA. This group recently organized Unconscious Bias training for staff and shared important resources for Black History Month.