THE AIM OF THESE PROJECTS IS TO FOSTER AWARENESS, KNOWLEDGE AND SKILL DEVELOPMENT TO PREVENT VIOLENCE, EXCLUSION, AND SOCIAL AND GENDER INEQUALITY.
The YWCA’s Department of Youth Services develops innovative projects, training sessions and workshops that are constantly being fine-tuned and adapted to meet the needs and everyday realities of young people aged 8 to 19. Our project leaders and coordinators reach out to youth in their own settings—in schools or community centres and work with girls and boys to address the following issues:
Leadership and autonomy • Hypersexualization and Sexual Exploitation • Cyberbullying • Critical thinking • Prevention of gender-based violence • Transition to high school • Emotional dependency and healthy relationships • Respect and appreciation of one’s body • Healthy lifestyle choices • Women’s equality • Civic involvement
- The Secrétariat à la condition feminine recognized the awareness-raising video clips on hypersexualization with the Prix Égalité Thérèse-Casgrain in the Equity Models and Behaviour category.
- Entrepreneures de demain, our awareness-raising project on non-traditional careers was also honoured, receiving the National Bank’s Coup de Coeur prize.
- The Carrières de choix project, concluded its first year of operations with the production of a needs report to help girls find information about traditionally male jobs and stimulate the diversification of academic and occupational choices.
- Relations NETtes, an awareness-raising and prevention guide on cyberbullying designed for youth workers, was hugely successful and was downloaded over 250 times.
- We also organized an event on the topic of cyberbullying called Créer un monde numérique plus sécuritaire pour les jeunes femmes [making the digital world safer for girls] with Sue Montgomery and Jessica Rose Marcotte.
- We received funding for a virtual reality project on sexual consent aimed at youth 16 and older.
- The Working Together project got off to a good start. The aim is to identify and remove, with schools and other institutions, the obstacles preventing the development of effective strategies to prevent sexual exploitation.
- Strong Girls, Strong World is a joint project of YWCA Canada and local YMCAs that got underway this year. The goal is to enable girls aged 16 to 19, to enhance their leadership skills and develop civic participation projects.
- After publishing a list of non-sexist stories last year, we came up with the idea this year of publishing a list of 10 books on women role models.
- The Camp Oolahwan Centenial Committee made a donation to help provide continuing support to YWCA Montreal camps in the development of girl’s leadership and self-esteem.
WHO ARE OUR PARTICIPANTS?
This year, participants in our various projects, workshops and training programs were between the ages of 8 and 19. Gender equality is also promoted by raising awareness among boys and more than 40% of our awareness workshops participants were boys.
Through our initiatives, we hope to reach the most vulnerable young girls in Montreal; 92% of participants attend schools in some of the most disadvantaged areas.
#VIOLENCE AND INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS
In Montréal 10 times more girls aged 12 to 17 are victims1 of domestic violence than boys of the same age.2
Nearly 39% of girls and women in the sex industry were recruited when they were minors, with an average age of 14.7.3 Girls are often recruited in school (high school, CEGEP, and university), youth centres, Metro stations, and parks.4
#CYBERBULLYING, THE INTERNET AND VIOLENCE
Roughly 80% of youth in Québec use social media; 2 out of 5 young people are victims of cyberbullying and over 60% witness this form of violence.5 Close to one-third of the 50 most popular Internet sites among high school students contain violent (28%) or highly sexual content (32%).6
#BODY IMAGE AND MENTAL HEALTH
71% of adolescent girls want to be slimmer even though only a small proportion of them weigh more than their healthy body weight; 52% of girls begin to diet before they turn 14.7 Eating disorders are the third most prevalent chronic illness among teenage girls in Quebec.8
Only 15% of high school girls have high self-esteem.9
1 Violence conjugale : Infractions contre la personne commises par une personne conjointe, ex-conjointe, amie intime ou ex-amie intime de lavictime. Définition du ministère de la Sécurité publique du Québec.
2 Conseil du statut de la femme, Portrait statistique Égalité femmes hommes, région de Montréal, 2015, p. 69
3 Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle, Connaitre les besoins des femmes dans l’industrie du sexe pour mieux baliser les services, 2016, pp. 38 et 57.
4 Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle, Portrait de l’industrie du sexe au Québec, p. 45-46
5 LI, Joyce, MSc et CRAIG, Wendy, PhD, Les expériences de la cyberintimidation des jeunes Canadiens, Queen’s University, Ontario, Novembre 2015, 27 pages.
6 Directeur de santé publique de Montréal. Portrait de la sexualité des jeunes – Sexualité et médias électroniques. www.dsp.santemontreal.qc.ca/dossiers_thematiques/jeunes/thematiques/sexoclic/pourquoi/portrait_sexualite_des_jeunes.html
7 Données du site web d’Anorexie et boulimie Québec, www.anebquebec.com
8 Veille action pour de saines habitudes de vie, L’image corporelle, un problème de poids : comment sensibiliser les jeunes. www.veilleaction.org/les-fiches-pratiques/problemes-lies-au-poids/l-image-corporelle-un-probleme-de-poids-comment-sensibiliser-les-jeunes.html