Topic: We CAN Break Free: What it Takes to Challenge Gender-Based Violence : A panel discussion for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

Speakers: Pam Hrick, Harmy Mendoza, Paulette Senior, Sarah Kaplan  

Date & Time: Tuesday, December 6, 2022 5-6pm EDT 

Location: Desautels Hall /  Livestream 

Co-hosted by: Institute for Gender and the Economy (GATE), Canadian Women’s Foundation, Women’s Legal and Education Action Fund (LEAF), and Woman Abuse Council of Toronto (WomanACT)  


Event Synopsis:   

Gender-based violence, a public health crisis, has become even more exacerbated during the pandemic. The Canadian Femicide Observatory’s data shows that 173 women and girls were killed by violence in 2021, a sharp increase from 2019. And according to Women and Gender Equality Canada, at least 44% of heterosexual women, 67% of LGB+ women, 59% of transgender and gender diverse people have experienced some form of psychological, physical, or sexual violence at home, in public, or at work. Now more than ever, we need to come together to support survivors of gender-based violence. Yet, harmful myths and stereotypes about gender-based violence continue to persist, making it more difficult to address.  

At this event, Professor Sarah Kaplan will moderate a panel discussion with Pam Hrick, Executive Director& General Counsel of LEAF, Paulette Senior, President & CEO of the Canadian Women’s Foundation, and Harmy Mendoza, Executive Director of WomanACT. In their conversation, they will debunk some of the biggest myths and explore what individuals, organizations, and the community can do to stop gender-based violence and support victims.  

  • What do survivors need? And how can you check in safely when you see the signal for help? 
  • Why is gender-based violence a workplace issue? And what are the role of companies? 
  • What is consent? How does the legal system fail to believe survivors and serve justice? 
  • How do high-risk groups, such as immigrants, Black, Indigenous, and racialized women, experience gender-based violence differently? 
  • Why does the impact of gender-based violence last even after survivors leave abusive relationships?  

About our speakers:  

Pam Hrick is the Executive Director & General Counsel of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF). She leads and manages LEAF’s legal activities and daily operations, and works with the Board to develop the vision and strategic plan for the organization. She provides leadership, expertise, support, and direction to LEAF’s work on litigation, law reform, and public education. 

Harmy Mendoza is the Executive Director of the Woman Abuse Council of Toronto (WomanACT). She is an inspirational leader and strong advocate with more than 18 years of experience in the anti-violence against women field.  

Paulette Senior has devoted her life and career to breaking down systemic barriers and building up diverse women and girls. Since 2016, Paulette has been the Canadian Women’s Foundation President and CEO and previously was CEO of YWCA Canada. She is a sought-after thought-leader on numerous issues including gender equity and gender-based violence; women’s poverty and the wage gap; girls’ empowerment; and leadership. Her focus at the Foundation is to bolster an inclusive national movement for all women, girls, and communities across Canada. In 2021, Paulette was presented with an honorary doctor of laws, honoris causa, by the University of Lethbridge. 

Dr. Sarah Kaplan is Distinguished Professor, Director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy (GATE), and Professor of Strategic Management, at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. She is a co-author of the bestselling business book, Creative Destruction. Her latest book—The 360° Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-offs to Transformation—is based on her award-winning course at the Rotman School. An innovation specialist by training, her current research focuses on applying an innovation lens to social challenges such as gender inequality. She was a strategic lead in developing the Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for Canada and regularly speaks to the media and advises corporations and governments on policies related to gender equality such as board diversity, care work, employment, pay equity, gender-based analysis and other topics.  

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