Advancing Women’s Equality Project



Advancing Women’s Equality (AWE) is a community-based project focused on ending sexualized violence in rural Nova Scotia. Through advocating for more effective policies and systems, the goal is to transform the context in which sexualized violence is perpetrated.


The project will use a survivor-centred approach in analyzing current practices, assessing community needs, and advocating for changes in policies and systems in three partner communities – Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation, St. Francis Xavier University, and the Strait Regional Centre for Education.


The project will engage a diversity of community members, rooting it in the specific strengths and needs of each community. Communities will share promising practices and lessons learned, strengthening relationships across the partner communities.


The insights gained through this cross-community collaboration will inform the creation of a new model for addressing sexualized violence in a rural context. This model will be shared with other communities seeking to build on community-based collaborations to address sexualized violence.


Advancing Women’s Equality is part of a national network of projects funded by Status of Women Canada that are empowering women leaders to advance gender equality. The work began in May 2017 and will conclude in May 2020.


AWE builds on the previous work of the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre & Sexual Assault Services with the three partner communities through the Responding to and Preventing Sexual Violence Project in Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation, Preventing Violence against Women at St. Francis Xavier University, and the Bringing In The Bystander Program for the Strait Regional Centre for Education.


The project will address:

  • all forms of sexualized violence – sexual harassment, cyber-misogyny, slut-shaming and blaming, sexual assault
  • disclosing and reporting sexualized violence
  • accessing and trusting services and supports
  • institutional recognition and take-up
  • decolonization and reconciliation
  • trauma-informed responses to survivors of sexualized violence
  • aspects of colonization, such as the Indian Act, the residential schools experience, the “sixties scoop,” child welfare issues, and other historical and present-day issues
  • education and advocacy around sexuality and consent
  • gender identity and sexual orientation
  • the needs of vulnerable groups within the partner communities


Specific activities of the project include:

  • analyzing policies, assessing needs, and reviewing the relevant literature
  • developing and implementing action and advocacy plans
  • developing partnerships among community members and stakeholders in each of the partner communities
  • building cross-sectoral partnerships
  • informing and learning from community members
  • participating in a national network of women leaders to share similar work
  • forums and outreach sessions to extend learning across Atlantic Canada
  • creating a toolkit that incorporates the promising practices and lessons learned in the partner communities, to be used as a model for addressing sexualized violence in other communities


We use an inclusive definition of “woman” and “female” and we welcome trans women, genderqueer women, and non-binary people.

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