March is born in fullness, a round moon mirroring the sunbeams of springtime. Pregnant with promise, hiding nothing of herself, she illuminates the path to rebirth. It has been a long winter gathering our strength underground, and we are ready to spring into action.
Here are a few of the things that are sparking hope in me this March…
International Women’s Day is next week, and we’ll be marking it on March 8 with WombSpace: an afternoon of learning, healing and community.
We’ve chosen to host our event during the day, so that you can spend your evening at one of the many panels, screenings, and celebrations happening around town. Join us from 2-6PM for a talking circle, reiki from Daily Magic, readings from Uplifting Tarot, and a talk on menstrual wellness from Amanda Laird – all in support of our neighbour Sistering. Check out our other top picks for IWD here.
There is a greater momentum than ever before around women’s entrepreneurship in Canada.
This week’s federal budget promised an extra $100 million over five years to women’s organizations through the Ministry for the Status of Women (now an official Department of the Government of Canada), plus $1.4 billion of financing opportunities for women-led ventures through the Business Development Bank of Canada. It also takes steps to promote equal sharing of parental responsibilities, close the wage gap, support women in the trades, and address gender-based violence.
The gender lens was applied to spending decisions, and the government aims to stay accountable through Canada’s Gender Results Framework: a tool to measure how these budget items translate into a more equitable society. With this year’s budget, Canada is making “a conscious effort to understand how decisions affect different people differently, with a view to allocating government resources more equitably and efficiently.”
In other promising news, a couple of weeks ago a report came out from BMO and Carleton University looking at women entrepreneurs and Canada’s innovation landscape.
The narrow definition of innovation is something that has bothered me since I started working with women entrepreneurs. Most of Shecosystem’s members – and a full 90% of women entrepreneurs (TD Economics, 2015) – are running businesses in the service sector. With most resources going toward supporting high growth businesses innovating in science and tech, women are being left out of the innovation agenda.
We know this already. Last June, at the SheEO/City of Toronto Women’s Entrepreneurship Forum (coming up again next Friday!), I listened in one session as one woman after another spoke up about how incubators, funding opportunities, and training programs are not speaking to them or addressing their needs as micro-businesses in the service sector. This report spells out recommendations for governments, financial institutions and women entrepreneurs themselves to address challenges – from access to capital, grants, incubators and networks, to ageism, sexual harassment, and gaps in training and mentoring.
There is promise in this report loudly declaring that we need to broaden the way we define innovation to be more inclusive of women’s innovations. The report quotes the OECD’s definition: “[a]n innovation is the implementation of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), or process, a new marketing method, or a new organizational method in business practices, workplace organization or external relations.”
It also notes that, “because women’s motivation in starting a business is often to better integrate their professional and personal lives, women tend also to innovate in the management of their businesses…they implement more informal, more participative and more horizontal organizations based on teamwork.”
Finally, the report celebrates the fact that women led ventures tend to be “vision-led,” creating social innovation that can benefit their communities.
I asked women in our community to own the ways their businesses are innovating. Here are a few of their responses:
“The initiative I’m working on, Disaster Pet Locator is completely directed at social good in three areas: Mental Health, Animal Welfare, Disaster Relief and all using technology and human resources.” (Julia Moreno Perri)
“I developed a framework to help companies understand how to engage their employees and sustain engagement over the long-term. I published a book based on it…I don’t think consultants get much credit for the new ideas and processes we develop for our clients.” (Corina Walsh)
“We are mitigating the risks involved in delegating to offshore virtual assistants while ensuring that we are not using the people on our team, but to the contrary, creates sustainable opportunities that mean wins for everyone.” (Katrina McKay)
In the spirit of promoting women’s innovation, we launched a new blog this week: CREATRIX.
CREATRIX highlights the people in our coworking community who are giving life to new ideas and new businesses. Check out our first post featuring Sulafa Silim, founder of Dawa Apothecary. Sulafa roots equity throughout her work, creating safe and accessible wellness spaces where women of colour can “have conversations about the real challenges they’re experiencing. Talking about anti-black oppression, or shadism within people of colour. Talking about perceptions of each other. We’re having those hard hitting conversations.”
May tonight’s full moon in Virgo shine a light on where you need to focus your energy this Spring, which seeds to water…as @mysticmamma writes “Virgo is the healer within, reminding us to embody our Spirit so we can bring about forth real change in our lives for the benefit of all. Her medicine is love in service, and her practical magic helps us streamline our directive so we can focus on how best to be in service of our collective healing.”??
Spend some time journalling, meditating, or doing any other practice that helps you tune into your intuition to fuel your innovative force! ???
I hope to see you at our WombSpace gathering on International Women’s Day or at one of our other events this March. Check out our whole calendar here.
Sending you full moon love,
Emily Rose Antflick is Shecosystem’s founder and Chief Community Cultivator. Her work stems from a feminine paradigm that values collaboration, emotional authenticity, and work-life integration.
With an M.A. in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, Emily spent a decade teaching and creating transformative educational journeys for youth before turning her attention to helping women like herself get unstuck and cultivate heart-centred communities that empower them to heal and whole themselves and the world.
Emily is the Community Leader of G Day for Girls Toronto. She is a certified Permaculture Designer, Dance Our Way Home facilitator, and Rite of Passage Guide.