MESSAGE from the Chair and the Chief Executive Officer of the YWCA Montreal
IN 2015-2016, THE YWCA MONTRÉAL FOCUSED ON CONVEYING A POWERFUL MESSAGE FOR THE CAUSE OF GIRLS AND WOMEN. WE WERE VERY BUSY ON A NUMBER OF FRONTS.
A NECESSARY AND OPPORTUNE PUBLIC PRESENCE
In 2016, the Québec government held three public consultations on the topics of gender equality, social solidarity and inclusion, and the creation of a Québec gun registry. The YWCA Montréal submitted a brief to each consultation because the themes of equality, inclusion, and reducing social and gender-based violence are central to our work. We recommended measures including the application of gender-based analysis for all public decision-making, regulations, legislation and projects and the creation of a Québec gun registry.
Preventing the recruitment of girls for the purpose of sexual exploitation was a major focus of our interventions, as seen in our participation in the news conference La prevention de l’exploitation sexuelle, un projet plus ambitieux, mais realisable [Preventing sexual exploitation: a more ambitious, but achievable goal], and our active involvement in the Buying Sex is Not a Sport campaign.
Held from November 25 to December 6, the 12 jours d’action contre la violence faite aux femmes [12 days of action against violence against women] was a highpoint for raising public awareness of the reality of violence against women. Among the means employed to reach as many people as possible: luncheon presentations, the lighting of the Olympic Park Tower and Montreal City Hall, the commemoration ceremony at the Place-du-6-décembre, and a social media campaign.
The board of directors mandated a committee to formulate an advocacy policy to effectively promote the message of YWCA Montréal. Having this policy will help us to better organize and plan our activities to promote the cause of women and girls.
OUR YOUTH AND COMMUNITY SERVICES ARE FLOURISHING
The number of girls and women who have directly benefited from our services rose significantly this year, partly due to the expansion of youth services. Facilitators and project officers developed numerous workshops and developed links with schools to raise awareness and intervene effectively in areas such as cyberbullying, sexual exploitation, and non-traditional trades for women.
Our community services department completed their offer of services to downtown families. The product of a fruitful collaboration with diverse agencies, these projects testify to the strength of the YWCA Montréal’s network of partners and collaborators.
Our youth services department received recognition for their expertise and the quality of their projects this year. The Secrétariat à la condition féminine awarded the Prix Égalité Thérèse-Casgrain, in the egalitarian models and behaviour category for the hypersexualization awareness clips, and the National Bank honoured the Entrepreneures de demain project with the Coup de cœur prize.
Our organization’s sustainability is assured by several revenue sources, including funds raised by the Women’s Y Foundation. It is a big challenge for the Foundation, and this year, in partnership with the YWCA Montréal, it created several new fundraising strategies.
Engagement, competency, innovation, excellence, and collaboration: these are the qualities of those who work to carry out our mission. Our most heartfelt thanks go to all of you—members of our boards of directors, management teams, employees, and volunteers, at both the YWCA Montréal and its Foundation. We also thank all of our funders, especially Centraide, Emploi-Québec, and the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec, for their trust and their financial contributions, that, more than ever, are essential to our work.
The YWCA Montréal has always been an example of audacity and dynamism, thanks to the synergy and determination of the women who have worked here for 141 years. We turn to the future with resolve, knowing that for many years to come we will be standing together to make a better future for women and girls.