#MontrealFeminists for the right to the city
A feminist city is a city that focuses on the needs and realities of all Montrealers and that improves quality of life for as many residents as possible. .
The right to the city refers to working to transform the city, whether through launching initiatives, starting projects, or taking part in debates and making decisions for the city's future.
Currently, feminists in Montreal are taking action to live in a city which better responds to their needs.
The Table de groupes de femmes de Montréal (TGFM) is a regional round table which promotes and defends the interests of women from an intersectional feminist perspective. Its membership of over 80 groups, composed mainly of local women's groups and women's committees from unions, community groups and social groups, is one of its greatest strengths.
#MontrealFeminists promotional material
The Table de groupe de femmes de Montréal (TGFM) is proposing several solutions to urban issues to improve movement, housing, neighbourhood life and economic conditions of Montreal women
Make concrete commitments in favour of the right to the city by taking inspiration from the solutions below! For even more solutions, look at the TGFM's Feminists for the Right to the City: Platform of Demands.
Putting them in action is a way to participate in the collective transformation of the city to build a Montreal that is more equal and inclusive. Together, we are #MontrealFeminists!
In order to fight climate change, it is essential to prioritize transport that is collective (bus, metro, adapted transit and train) or active (walking, biking, and using a wheelchair).
Women in Montreal make up 54% of all collective transport users in Montreal.1 However, they do not all have safe and equitable access to sustainable transit options to move freely, particularly due to fare hikes and a lack of facilities in their neighbourhoods.
Only 25 metro stations out of 68 have an elevator. Disabled women depend on adapted transit, which has many issues (safety in vehicles, lateness, inflexibility, eligibility, etc.)
More than half of Montrealers (65%) experienced street harassment in 2020-2021. This percentage is much higher among disabled women (75%), gender-diverse individuals (84%) and young women (92%).2
FEMINIST ACTIONS AND SOLUTIONS
Feminist organizations are taking action for sustainable, inclusive and more equal movement for all. Here are the solutions proposed by the TGFM to respond to these pressing issues:
Ensure inclusive and universal access for collective transport services, as well as facilities for active transport.
- Expand the conversation around universal access to highlight its advantages for urban planning, as everyone benefits from it (including parents, seniors and children).
- Train collective and adapted transit staff in universal access to ensure that users are respected.
- Redesign the existing transit network to make it universally accessible.
- Make information on adapted transit and how to use it more accessible.
- Systematicallyintegrate the principles of universal access in new facilities and services associated with mobility.
Encourage the adoption of active transport
- Design roads to improve security and road sharing. These measures concern lights, signage, the widening and repair of sidewalks and bike paths, reserved lanes, traffic-calming measures, adding places to rest on routes, longer pedestrian signals, etc.
- Develop community bike workshops that offer voluntary mixing at certain times.
- Diversify depictions of bicycle users (people who are fat, elderly, who wear hijab, who are disabled, etc.).
Adopt collective solutions in order to not be alone when faced with street harassment
- Document the situation to develop appropriate solutions.
- Offer training to people who are in the best position to intervene (such as reception staff, security guards and bus/adapted transit drivers).
- Develop awareness campaigns with groups working in the field.
- React when you witness street harassment.
1 Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain, (2021). Plan stratégique de développement du transport collectif 2021-2035.
2 Centre d’éducation et d’action des femmes de Montréal, (2022). Rapport de recherche sur le harcèlement de rue à Montréal : un portrait statistique de la pluralité des expériences, des manifestations et des contextes.
Poster by Daphné Brisson-Cardin
The housing crisis in Montreal is visible in the vacancy rate of 2.3%.3 Montreal women, who earn an average of 78% of what men earn4 have more trouble finding housing that responds to their needs in terms of size, adaptation, cost and location.
The Table de groupes de femmes de Montréal (TGFM) led a consultation with feminist and community groups, which revealed that finding adequate housing is even more difficult for women who are discriminated against due to their personal situation or identity (being single parents, living in poverty, being disabled, being victims of sexual or conjugal violence, exchanging sexual services , being racialized, their sexual orientation, their gender identity, their Indigenous background, their immigration status or age).5
Social and community housing should be a solution to access adequate housing, but makes up only 6% of housing stock.6 There is just not enough to meet the multiple needs and realities of the population.
Almost 24,000 households in Montreal are waiting for a spot in social housing (HLM).7 The average wait time is five years, and is even longer for accessible and adaptable housing or for a large family.
The lack of space also affects women's groups offering shelter and temporary or permanent housing. The situation is particularly worrisome for women's shelters: 5 shelters in Montreal recorded 15,487 refusals for a lack of space in 2020-2021.8
FEMINIST ACTIONS AND SOLUTIONS
Feminist organizations are making efforts to improve access to housing and shelter - from emergency shelters to permanent housing. Here are the solutions proposed by the TGFM to respond to these pressing issues:
Increase the amount of social housing for women
- Recognize women when analyzing social housing issues and consider the realities which are unique to their situation and their identities.
- Develop 23,000 new social housing units across the Island of Montreal to respond to the needs of women in all their diversities.
- Develop social housing to offer living spaces that are pleasant, affordable, safe, healthy and accessible.
- Provide adequate funding to construct housing units, common areas, and social housing support from the community sector.
- Provide funding for social housing that considers women’s lived realities to be available to groups of women without discrimination.
Develop services and resources for women in difficult situations
- Offer a variety of shelter options for women in difficult situations.
- Improve the accessibility and inclusion practices of services and resources for all women (such as disabled women).
- Support intervention workers' abilities to help women in difficult situations when they move into new housing.
- Ensure long-term funding for groups that support women in difficult situations.
- Create resources and services for underserved populations and sectors.
- Make existing resources permanent to avoid having to resort to winter services or emergency services for the homeless.
3 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, (2022). Rental Market Survey Data Tables
4 Statistics Canada, (2021). Census of Population: Number of total income recipients aged 15 years and over in private households in 2020, Montreal census subdivision.
5 Table de groupes de femmes de Montréal, (2021). Montreal Women’s Right to Housing: We’re Working on It, Are You?
6 Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal, (2023). Les grands indicateurs du logement locatif dans le Grand Montréal, édition 2023.
7 Office municipal d’habitation de Montréal, (2023). Analyse de la demande et délais d’attente.
8 Partenariat pour la prévention et la lutte à l’itinérance des femmes, (2022). Femmes et itinérance en 2022.
Poster by Maylee Keo
In Montreal, the majority of local services (daycares, grocery stores, libraries, etc.) are found in central neighbourhoods, where they can be accessed with collective and active transport. However, many of these neighbourhoods are being rapidly gentrified.
For instance, between 2021 and 2023, the average price of housing units in the Rosemont-la Petite Patrie borough available on the market increased by 25%.9
Unless they live in social housing, it is difficult for the poorest and most marginalized populations to continue to live in central neighbourhoods. They are pushed to the edges of the city, where local services and services accessible by collective and active transport are inadequate.
Several issues are limiting the use of available local resources:
- A lack of accessibility and adaptation for people living with disability.
- Linguistic barriers.
- Eligibility requirements.
- Feeling safe in public spaces, which is influenced by racial profiling and street harassment.
Inequitable access and use of information and communication technologies, also known as the digital divide - also limits access to local services and resources which increasingly use online tools for reservations, for instance. In Quebec, in 2020, 12% of households with an annual income of less than $20,000 did not have access to an Internet connection.11
FEMINIST ACTIONS AND SOLUTIONS
Feminist organizations are taking action to improve access to local resources and community life for all. Here are the solutions proposed by the TGFM to respond to these pressing issues:
Improve the accessibility and inclusion of local services, programs and resources
- Expand eligibility for services (including age, legal status and place of residence) and adopt inclusive initiatives (such as translation, cultural mediation and representative programming).
- Continue to have women present, especially women who live at the intersection of oppressions, on boards of directors and at general meetings to make space for their realities .
- Ensure universal access for new and renovated buildings, services and events.
- Offer training and space to discuss ableism, decolonization, systemic racism and sexual and gender diversity to promote inclusion.
- Choose universally accessible spaces, furnishings and meeting rooms when hosting training sessions, gatherings, classes and activities.
- Encourage the addition of spaces for nursing or pumping milk.
Shrink the digital divide
- Offer alternatives to digital communication (such as taking phone calls, hanging up signs and offering drop-in services).
- Provide access to digital resources (such as providing wifi, lending out tablets, and offering training and assistance).
- Ensure that there are government programs allowing isolated women to access digital resources.
9 Regroupement des comités logement et associations de locataires du Québec (2023), La crise du logement, on s’enfonce encore plus!
10 Table de groupes de femmes de Montréal (2021), Montreal Women’s Right to Housing: We’re Working on It, Are You?
11 Institut national de santé publique du Québec (2021), Inégalités d’accès et d’usage des technologies numériques : un déterminant préoccupant pour la santé publique de la population ?
Poster by Carolina Espinosa
According to the Institut de Recherche et d'Informations Socioeconomiques (IRIS), the viable annual income to live in Montreal is $32,252 for one person and $44,187 for a single-parent family.12 In 2021, 41.5% of Montreal women who earned employment income earned less than $30,000 per year.13
The Table de groupes de femmes de Montréal (TGFM) has observed that, increasingly, poverty is an intersectional feminist issue.14 In other words, some women are more marginalized and in more precarious situations because of systemic forms of discrimination such as racism, ableism and heterosexism, which combine with sexism. These women experience discrimination that affects their access to education and to paid work in line with their abilities, affecting their income and leading to isolation and under-representation in decision-making spaces.
Post-pandemic recovery measures helped the construction, real estate and tech sectors. This deepened existing inequalities15 because Montreal women are much less likely to be hired in and stay in these traditionally masculine fields. These measures have had a limited impact on jobs in traditionally feminine fields (health, childcare, teaching, and the community sector), which remain undervalued, low-paid and are associated with difficult working conditions.
FEMINIST ACTIONS AND SOLUTIONS
Feminist organizations are making efforts to eliminate poverty and ensuring good living conditions. Here are the solutions proposed by the TGFM to respond to these pressing issues:
Raise women's incomes
- Raise the minimum wage to at least $18 per hour.
- Ensure that poverty-fighting measures include the means to provide affordable housing, food and transit.
- Raise retired women's incomes.
Promote access to employment for women living at the intersection of oppressions (for instance, women who have an immigrant background, are racialized, disabled and/or represent sexual and gender diversity)
- Prevent, recognize and intervene in situations of harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
- Train employers and all employees to include diversity according to a Gender-Based Analysis Plus approach with an intersectional perspective (GBA+).
- Establish a complete, ongoing regularization program for all migrants with precarious immigration status.
- Recognize diplomas and work experience earned abroad.
- Put working conditions in place which consider the realities of single mothers who are the heads of their households.
Encourage access to traditionally masculine professions and recognize the full value of traditionally feminine professions
- Improve wages, working conditions and benefits in traditionally feminine employment sectors.
- Encourage the hiring and the retention of women in traditionally masculine professions.
- Deconstruct stereotypes to stimulate access to traditionally masculine professions.
- Promote traditionally masculine jobs in employability services and in schools.
- Ensure fair representation of women and marginalized people in all municipal employment categories and in contracts awarded to the private sector.
12 Institut de recherche et d’information socioéconomique, (2023). Le revenu viable 2023: dans la spirale de l’inflation et des baisses d’impôt.
13 Ville de Montréal. Recensement 2021.
14 Celis, Leila, Audrey Dahl, TGFM et COSSL, (2020). Groupes communautaires et femmes en situation de pauvreté à Montréal: besoins, pratiques et enjeux intersectionnels.
15 Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (2022). A Bumpy Ride.
Poster by Maïa Faddoul
What to do with the promotional material?
With #MontréalFéministes, we want to create a movement that challenges our governments, mobilizes our partners and engages the population to participate in change.
We're sharing several promotional items developed in collaboration with talented Montreal artists.
Join the campaign to highlight your concerns, gain recognition for your work and inspire change.
Together, we'll make the #MontrealFeminists hashtag resonate so that our discussions and actions will be heard in every corner of Montreal.
Step 1: Make the material your own
Display and share the campaign messages around you. Use our posters, stickers and vinyl on your premises and everyday objects (bottle, diary, computer, etc.). These objects will spark conversations around the issues and solutions for achieving our desired city.
Wear the sweater or hoodie at meetings, assemblies, demonstrations, or daily life to show solidarity with the movement.
Inform and raise awareness in your network by distributing our brochures in your circles to encourage them to take action, whether they are members, stakeholders or friends.
Step 2 : Use your creativity to share your engagement
Take photos of people, walls and objects that display the campaign's colors and write a post with the #MontrealFeminists hashtag. You can use our brochures or our platform of demands as inspiration to write about
Photographiez les personnes, murs et objets qui affichent les couleurs de la campagne et rédigez une publication accompagnée du mot-clic #MontréalFéministes. Vous pouvez vous inspirer de nos feuillets ou de notre plateforme de revendications pour écrire sur :
- Your concerns regarding mobility, housing, neighborhood life and precarity: present a statistic, observation or testimony that shocks you as a feminist.
- Your solutions: challenge the governments, institutions or the general public to take action.
- Your contributions to a feminist city: share your resources, upcoming events, services, etc.
Step 3 : Take it further
Introduce the campaign to politicians: send the brochures to local elected officials, or request for a meeting to share the issues and solutions that matter to you.
Put up the posters in your neighbourhood: print out the campaign posters available on our website and go out!
Participate in TGFM actions: become a member and join the Feminists for the Right to the City committee. For more information, contact Marie-Eve.D@tgfm.org