Federal Government Cutbacks Force Feminist Leader to End TenureFriday, August 22 2008
For immediate release: 21 April 2008, Ottawa: The Executive Director of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW) will be ending her ten year tenure at the helm of the central women's equality-seeking organization this week. Lise Martin joined CRIAW at the height of feminist militancy in Canada at a time when the federal government was attempting to phase-out funding for women's groups. Over its history, CRIAW has helped re-think and re-define women's equality work while challenging successive governments to improve policies.
This year, CRIAW''s operating budget is about half of what it has been over the last decade, not unlike other women's equality-seeking groups facing
lean times since the current Harper government did away with research and
advocacy from Status of Women Canada's mandate 18 months ago. Several organizations have had to let go of long-term staff as a result of such regressive policy changes, and the federal government's calculated shift in
focus from women's equality to women's services has resulted in extensive
restructuring and budget cuts for too many valuable organizations.
In spite of these uncertain times for women's equality in Canada, CRIAW has continued to forge a viable future for the feminist movement, running
several fundraising projects, diversifying its funding base, and releasing
four new research publications in the past year. Recent initiatives have
explored and promoted intersectional feminist frameworks (IFFs) as an
analytical approach that enhances understanding of the dynamics shaping
today's world. (For further details, see www.criaw-icref.ca
Martin's role has been a central one in the advancement of women's equality in Canada. She organized non-governmental delegations to various global women's conferences, including the 4th International Women's Conference in Beijing in 1995, and participated in delegations to the Economic and Social Commission, and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, of the United Nations.
Under the leadership of Martin and CRIAW's Board of Directors, research was developed on behalf of the most marginalized and vulnerable women in Canada and abroad. Martin has orchestrated initiatives on young women and body image, home care and the feminization of poverty, the impact of the national security agenda on racialized women, low-income women and the Canada Social Transfer, Intersectional Feminist Frameworks, and women-centred alternatives for resisting poverty and exclusion.
Internally, Martin mainstreamed bilingualism within CRIAW, worked for
democratic, inclusive governance, and provided sound financial management. She built global research networks among women and helped found the Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA).
The women's movement and Canadian society as a whole owe a tremendous debt to the invaluable efforts of Lise Martin in advancing women s equality in Canada.