Decent Work for Women Working in the Ontario Nonprofit Sector

Ontario Nonprofit Network

Decent Work for Women: A Project from the Ontario Nonprofit Network

Project Summary  |  Literature Review |  Engagement Activities

Decent work for women working in our sector

The Ontario nonprofit sector is a critical part of the province’s social, economic and political fabric. Fifty-five thousand organizations generate over $50 billion in economic impact for the province, while a labour force of over 1 million people serves a wide range of communities across the province.

The sector’s distinct challenges and trends – such as resource constraints a tightened regulatory environment, changing demographics, and a complex sector narrative – significantly impact its labour force, one that consists of approximately 80% women workers.ONN’s ChangeWork report sheds light on the reality of job precarity and insecurity, lack of access to benefits and pensions, underinvestment in training and development and uncompetitive wages in the sector. Over the past year ONN has been building a decent work movement in the sector to address these issues.

The concept of decent work was developed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and is defined as “opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity” (International Labour Organization, “Decent Work,” 2015).

The nonprofit sector can be a major catalyst for a conversation about decent work and what it could mean for Canada, Ontario, our communities and the nonprofit sector itself.

However, very little is known about how women are faring in the sector. How do challenges women face in the broader labour market particularly manifest and impact different women working in the sector (i.e., the gender wage gap, glass ceilings, and leaky leadership pipelines)?

Given the critical intersections between labour, the nonprofit sector, and women, ONN is exploring these questions by applying an intersectional gender lens to its decent work movement.

For more information on this porject contact the Project Lead Pamela Uppal,, 416-642-5786 x504




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