Make Women's Poverty History

Monday, July 26 2010

October 17, 2005 - On this International Day for the Elimination of Poverty, the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW) is releasing the third edition of its Fact Sheet on Women and Poverty.

Since the release of the 1st edition in 2000, little has changed. In fact, the depth of women’s poverty has increased as women’s vulnerability to becoming poor has increased. Yet, despite successive budget surpluses, the federal government has chosen not to invest in Canada’s social infrastructure.

On this international day of action for the Make Poverty History Campaign, CRIAW takes this opportunity to express its disappointment in the fact that Canadian NGOs have almost exclusively approached this campaign from the international aid perspective. The Canadian government has not made poverty eradication a domestic issue.

While we are encouraged that Canada has stepped up to the plate in terms of earmarking .07% of its GDP to overseas development assistance, the government must also recognize that poverty is a reality for far too many Canadians. Jo-Anne Lee, CRIAW’s president states, “It is essential that we acknowledge that poverty is not gender neutral nor the face of poverty homogeneous”.

“Until we acknowledge the root causes of poverty as linked to both historical and modern colonialism along with their inherent patterns of racism and sexism we will not be in a position to make poverty history,” noted Lise Martin, CRIAW’s Executive Director.

Our constant obsession with short-term band-aid solutions lack vision and courage. The state of today’s world shows the limits of linking all of our policies, be they international, national or local, to market forces alone. Market-based solutions simply have not worked. Where governments across the world have tried market-based solutions as a way to reduce poverty, they have tended to ignore women and the conditions in which women live. Today, women are finding themselves picking up the mess. Women are key to any plan to eradicate poverty.

Over the next three years CRIAW will continue to work for women’s economic and social justice and will dare to imagine and develop transformative frameworks which hopefully will contribute to making poverty history.

To obtain copies of the fact sheet please send a request to It is also available on our website at

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