“Building a Women-Friendly City” — Kristyn Wong-Tam, Toronto Women’s City Alliance

Despite the fact that 52% of Toronto’s population consists of women from different backgrounds and histories, women still make up fewer than 25% of  municipal leaders and, on the whole, continue to experience disproportionately high rates of poverty and abuse.

Imagine a city where women of all backgrounds are equally represented in elected office.  Imagine a city where women and children feel safe to walk at night, free from violence.  Imagine a city where a woman has access to affordable, quality child care so that she can pursue education or employment.

Kristyn Wong-Tam of the Toronto Women’s City Alliance (TWCA) thinks Toronto can be a vibrant, welcoming place for women to live, work, and play.  TWCA’s vision for Toronto is a place where all individuals are treated equally and fairly, no matter their gender.

We’ve seen other leading cities in the world take on an aggressive institutional agenda for women’s equality. London, San Francisco, New York, Barcelona, Vienna, and Montreal work to ensure that women’s voices are integrated into their municipal plans.

TWCA wants to see the establishment of a Women’s Equality office much like the ones we’ve seen abroad, so that Toronto can truly become a Women-Friendly City!

Toronto Women’s City Alliance was formed in 2004 by a diverse group of women who have been organizing to end the growing invisibility of girls’ and women’s voices and issues on the City of Toronto’s political agenda.  TWCA advocates for anti-racist, anti-poverty, and gender mainstreaming for Toronto.

TWCA’s goals are: to ensure political commitment to, and action on, gender equity; to remove barriers to women’s active participation in all spheres of public life; to secure an equal share in all decision-making processes; to institutionalize inclusive, democratic, and participatory processes; to support women across diverse backgrounds, to meet their rights and needs through systemic institutional change.; and to reverse cutbacks to services for women, and initiate gender-responsive budgeting.