Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

Raison d’être

The Office of the Co-ordinator, Status of Women, known as Status of Women Canada (SWC), is a federal Government agency that promotes equality between women and men in all aspects of Canadian life. The mandate of SWC is “to coordinate policy with respect to the status of women and administer related programs” (1976).

SWC is responsible for exercising leadership and working in partnership to promote and advance equality by: supporting action that will lead to equality by helping to create conditions for success for women and girls in Canada; providing expert advice on gender equality and Gender-based Analysis in the development of effective programs, policies and legislation for all Canadians; promoting commemorative dates relating to women and girls in Canada; and supporting Canada’s efforts to meet international obligations.

SWC works to promote and advance equality for women and girls, focusing its efforts in three areas: improving women’s and girls’ economic security and prosperity; ending violence against women and girls; and supporting the advancement and increased representation of women and girls in leadership and decision-making roles. While SWC focuses on these three areas, the agency is able to address specific issues, such as barriers to women’s under-representation in democratic life and economic preconditions for women’s success.

Mandate and role

SWC is the primary federal agency responsible for supporting the Government’s agenda to achieve equality for women and girls. As issues affecting women and girls permeate every aspect of society, the agency collaborates with a wide range of federal government departments, provincial and territorial governments, international, private and voluntary organizations, advocates and researchers.

In its policy function, SWC plays the role of a knowledge broker and facilitator, offering input, advice and strategic support to other Government departments and agencies, contributing to research and knowledge, conducting policy analysis, and making strategic interventions at both the domestic and international levels.

SWC also leads in building capacity across Government for the integration of Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+). GBA+ is an analytical tool to systematically integrate gender and other identity factors throughout the decision-making process and to assess the potential impacts of policies, programs or legislation on diverse groups of women and men in order to inform the development and delivery of more responsive initiatives.

Through the Women’s Program, SWC provides financial support to non-profit and other organizations that work to foster the type of system-level changes that advance equality between women and men, and have a clear potential for making a difference in the lives of women and girls in Canada.

To raise awareness of the key milestones in the history of women in Canada, SWC promotes commemorative dates such as: International Women’s Day (March 8), Women’s History Month (October), the International Day of the Girl (October 11), Persons Day (October 18) and the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women (December 6).

For more general information about the agency, see the “Supplementary information” section of this report. For more information on the agency’s organizational mandate letter commitments, see the Minister's mandate letter Endnote i

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