Women with disabilities

Banner: Expanding the reach, empowering women with disabilities

Program Overview

Women with disabilities are encouraged to participate in all aspects of Scarborough Women’s Centre. The Centre also provides an innovative outreach program for women with disabilities called Expanding the Reach. The aim of the program is to support women with disabilities to make positive changes in their lives and communities.  Currently, we are coordinating a three year project funded by Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) to improve the economic security of women with disabilities living in Scarborough.  For more info, see ETR Research project brochure

This will be achieved by:

  • Completing research to document best practices that promote the economic security and inclusion of women with disabilities in the workforce
  • Conducting community consultations to increase our awareness of the systemic barriers that impact women with disabilities on their journey to becoming economically secure
  • Developing tools for use by employers, employment agencies, and other committed stakeholders that promote the economic security and inclusion of women with disabilities in the workforce.
  • Sharing the project learning with our project partners, their networks, and other committed stakeholders

Program Eligibility

Please note that we are currently NOT offering workshops through this project. Women with disabilities will be invited to participate in project activities such as focus groups. To participate,  one must self-identify as having a disability. The term disability covers a broad range and degree of conditions that may have been present from birth, caused by an accident, or developed over time. Examples of disabilities may include:

  • Visible and non-visible disabilities (e.g. physical, learning, speech, mental health, and environmental sensitivities)
  • Disabilities of which the effects come and go (e.g. arthritis)
  • Sensory disabilities (e.g. hearing and vision impairments)
  • People who are recovering from drug and alcohol addictions

Participation in program activities is voluntary

Program Accommodations

The following accommodations are provided at ETR program activities but are not available in our other programs and services:

  • Attendant care
  • Light refreshments
  • TTC tokens

ETR logo with women's symbol

Program Rationale

Currently, women with disabilities make up 17% of the female population in Canada and that number is expected to increase as the population ages. Women with disabilities are also less likely to have access to education and employment opportunities. This means that women with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty. The likelihood and incidence for abuse in relationships is also higher for women with disabilities due to their status as a disabled woman, a lack of access to sexual health information, and the inability of services to meet the needs women with disabilities who may be experiencing violence.

To date, approximately 13% of SWC service users have disclosed that they live with some type of disability, including: vision impairment, hearing loss, heart disease, mobility disabilities, learning difficulties, intellectual disabilities, and mental illness. Program participants have shared that the workshops provide them with a safe space to build support networks, reduce isolation, and find validation in their experiences from other women with disabilities.

Program Contact Information

If you have questions or are interested in participating in the program, please contact Melissa at 416-439-7111 x 3 or program@scarboroughwomenscentre.ca

Project Partners

This research project is done in collaboration with RBC Royal Bank, YWCA Employment Programs, Centennial College Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Inclusion,  Centennial College Centre for Students with Disabilities, Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre, East Scarborough Storefront, and Springtide Resources.

Project Funders

In addition to funding from Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE),  we have also received support from Womens XChange to fund research for this project. We are always interested in hearing about funders and donors who would like to help.