'Decent Work for Women' in the Nonprofit Sector


by Alexa Briggs, CCVO Manager, Policy & Research

In honour of International Women’s Day, we'd like to draw your attention to the exceptional work of the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) in a recent report: Decent Work for Women. This report is focused on the experiences of women working in the nonprofit sector in Ontario, and reached three main findings:  

  • The nonprofit sector is women-majority but not always women-led 

  • Unequal job opportunities and a glass ceiling exist for diverse women 

  • Women in the nonprofit sector have lower compensation than men 

Lacking similar research for Alberta, the ONN report spurs some important questions to consider in our province:  

  • How do we make sure women are represented in senior management positions and on boards at parity (at least 50%)?  

  • How do we make sure that benefits and workplaces reflect the needs of women? (e.g. flexibility, affordable and accessible childcare)  

  • How do we make sure that diverse women make equal gains?  

  • How do we make sure that women are compensated equally to their male counterparts?  

CCVO recently released our policy priority areas, which include ‘A Vibrant Nonprofit Sector Workforce’ – this includes ensuring that nonprofits address women’s experiences as part of a healthy workforce. In this priority area, CCVO has also committed to exploring gender-based analysis+ (GBA+ is a kind of analysis that focuses on challenging our assumptions to lead us to better diversity and inclusivity). Some nonprofits will have already embedded GBA+ in their organizational programs and practices but it is not widely implemented across the sector.  

There is an opportunity to learn from ONN’s excellent research, replicate it in Alberta, and perhaps provide the tools and resources that nonprofits need to embed GBA+ in their organizations as one way to start conquering persistent issues of inequality and inequity for women working in the nonprofit sector. At CCVO, we will continue to stay attuned to this important issue and consider ways to support female nonprofit professionals as core contributors to our workforce. 

While celebrating International Women’s Day, let’s remember to take a moment to acknowledge the women who work tirelessly and with great passion in nonprofits across the province. Let’s also honour those women by committing ourselves to reaching parity.