From Poverty to Empowerment

Canadian Women’s Foundation, Canadian Women's Community Economic Development Council

Year: 2004

A research report on women and community economic development (CED) in Canada

The present research was initiated by the Canadian Women’s Foundation (CWF) and the Canadian Women’s Community Economic Development Council (CWCEDC) in order to explore the unique strengths and challenges of women-centred Community Economic Development (CED) programs in Canada. The CWF formulated the proposal for the present study with the aim of compiling a qualitative portrayal of the roles, needs, challenges, and achievements of women-centred CED programs and developing an inventory with information on women-centred programs and services in Canada.

The present research fills an important gap in research literature on CED programs designed by and for low-income women. It is the first national level study to combine a quantitative and qualitative assessment of women-centred CED programs in Canada, and one of the few studies to assemble the perspectives of women from across the country who are active in research, policy-making and practice in CED.

In a spirit of collaboration and partnership, a team of female researchers who are based in different parts of the country was formed to conduct the research. The methodology for the research involved a combination of participatory, qualitative, and quantitative methods. The analysis was arrived at through a process of triangulation: pulling together data from questionnaire responses, case studies of women-centred CED programs, and facilitated discussions with women practitioners during the National Skills Institutes in May and June 2003. The findings from these three sources were complemented with interviews with key informants.