What we do

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead

What is Advocacy?

Advocacy originates from Latin advocare, meaning to speak out on behalf of someone. Conceptually, advocacy relates to engagement in activities, organizations and discussions intended to influence opinion and public policies locally, nationally and internationally. The expected outcome is a stronger accountability from governmental and international bodies. In this perspective, advocacy is a key element of democracy as it secures the voice of the voiceless in political dialogues aimed at the common good.

Why do we do it?

  • To express views and concerns on policies related to girls and women’s rights
  • To support actions and policies that protect girls and women’s rights
  • To promote access to education for girls and women
  • To bring changes that will positively transform the lives of girls and women around the world.

How do we do it

Advocacy is at the heart of UWCM activities. We use a human rights based – approach to advocate for policies that were adopted by CFUW http://www.cfuw.org/. We advocate on different platforms by:

  • Supporting CFUW to retain its special consultative status with the United Nations Social and Economic Council (ECOSOC) https://www.un.org/ecosoc/en
  • Collaborating with community organizations.
  • Raising money to provide scholarships for university and college education for girls and women.
  • Raising money to support the fight against women’s poverty.
  • Submitting briefs to government bodies on several topics related to education, safety and health.
  • Developing educational tools that promote lifelong learning, such as a Financial Literacy Kit.
  • Blogging on women’s issues
  • Reviewing and proposing Resolutions

Events of priority

March 8- International Women’s Day

Initiated in 1910 during the second International Conference of Working Women held in Copenhagen, International women Day is now celebrated worldwide on March 8th each year. It began with advocacy for women’s rights to vote, to work, to be trained, and to hold public office, in order to end discrimination against women. Since its first celebration by the United Nations in 1975, several global themes have emerged: Women at the Peace Table, Women and Human Rights, World Free of Violence Against Women, Empower Rural Women, End Poverty & Hunger, Time for Action to End Violence Against Women. If these themes reflect the global dimensions of women’s conditions, they also remain indicators that the road to equal rights is rockier than anticipated. Thus, advocacy remains imperative.

To learn more, visit:

May 10th is Gender Balanced day.

To celebrate this «50/50 Day» in 2017, there will be over 8,0000 film screening worldwide followed by discussions, Q&A, and brainstorming on actions that will foster a gender balanced, 50/50 world, not just in politics and board rooms, but across all parts of society.

As an Ambassador for the 50/50 Day, UWCM is promoting participation in all activities that support Gender Balanced Day.

For more information visit http://www.letitripple.org/films/50-50/5050-day-faq/

October 4- National Sister in Spirit Vigils for Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women and Girls

Sisters In Spirits (SIS) is an education, policy and research initiative funded by the Status of Women Canada (SWC) and driven by Aboriginal women with the purpose of conducting research and raising awareness of violence against Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. Since its inception in 2005, evidence generated indicate that over 582 Aboriginal women and girls were missing and murdered in Canada. Researchers have continued to investigate the root causes of violence against aboriginal communities. Based on this research, new policies were developed along with social actions to prevent and stop such violence. October 4th is the day to honour the lives of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls, to reflect on all aspects of violence in our lives and to advocate for policy to prevent it.

Each October 4th, UWCM joins the National Sisters In Spirits (SIS) Vigil.

To learn more, visit:

October 18- Person’s Day

It was October 18th 1929 when the Highest Court of Canada had finally included women in the legal definition of “person.” On Person’s Day, members of UWCM salute the memory of those Famous Five, the five women who began the fight for such recognition. Let us cheer all women who have continued the fight by standing firm and advocating for their rights.

To learn more, visit:

November 25- International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

On December 1999, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 54/134, which designates November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. At the same time, an invitation was sent to governments and NGOs around the world to raise public awareness about the problem of violence against women. Resolution 54/134 was based on the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, adopted earlier in 1993, whose Article 1 refers to “violence against women” as any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.

To learn more, visit:

December 6 – Canada National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

December 6th 1989 is known as the Montreal Massacre, when a man entered the École Polytechnique de Montréal and purposefully shot 14 female engineering students. The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women was instituted in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada. It is a day to commemorate those 14 women whose fundamental rights have been fatally violated and whose life dreams were crushed too early by an act of hatred and violence. It is also a day to promote respect for women’s rights and to recognize the need to advocate for a world free of gender-based violence. UWCM collaborates with several NGOs, including the YWCA’s Rose Button Campaign.

To learn more, visit:

Fall each year- Centraide March of 1000 umbrellas

Centraide is an independent organization whose mission is to fight poverty and social exclusion. Through a network of 350 agencies and 57,000 volunteers, Centraide reaches families and communities in greater Montreal where one in four people between the ages of 18 and 64 were among the “working poor” in 2016. About 38% of the “working poor” are single parents under age 30: most of them are women and 27% are recent immigrants. They are 5 times more at risk of working poverty than non-immigrants (6%).

UWCM supports Centraide’s fight against poverty by joining each fall the March of 1,000 Umbrellas which marks the beginning of an annual three-month campaign for Centraide to raise money.

To learn more, visit: