Community Sector Women’s Leadership Project

Women represent a large majority of workers in the community sector. However, leadership positions are disproportionately occupied by men, considering the small percentage of men working in this sector.1 The New Brunswick 2007 Blueprint for Action report indicates that within a sample of 644 community sector groups, women make up 1,627 full-time employees and 2,217 part-time employees, while 400 men were full-time employees and 351 were part-time employees2(p.69). This would mean that in this sample women comprise 80% of full-time employees and 86% of part-time employees. Figures from 2010 indicate that even when women do reach the executive leadership level, a pay gap persists between them and their male peers, with men earning 42% more.3

The Coalition has conducted a gender based analysis on women working in the community sector using various articles and documents, as well as, interviews with executive directors in the New Brunswick community sector. You can consult it here: Report on Women's Leadership in New Brunswick's Community Sector, a gender based analysisView the highlights of this report here.


Mentorship project

Based on this information, the Coalition for Pay Equity developed the Community Sector Women’s leadership project, with the financial support of Status of Women Canada.

The 24 month project helped us to develop a mentoring model as well as innovative support mechanisms to increase women’s leadership, for those women who occupy leadership roles in the community sector.

After consultation with several women in leadership roles in this sector, as well as, with an advisory committee composed of various experts, we developed a unique “horizontal” mentoring model; including a provincial orientation workshop that were followed by four meetings spread over 2 to 4 months. Participants took turns taking the roles of mentees and mentors as they shared their knowledge and learned from their colleagues.  

The project joined 47 leaders and emerging leaders from 40 community organizations in both official languages and four regions of New Brunswick.

The external evaluation of our mentoring project on women’s leadership in the community sector showed positive results:

A.) The project gave women an opportunity to mobilize, and three groups will continue to meet after the project;

B.) The women agreed about the importance of networking to establish a common dialogue and joint strategies in order to develop their leadership roles;

C.) Women working in the community sector already were aware of the impact of social policies on their jobs but felt powerless to change them. Since the project, they believe that, collectively, they can influence social policies.


We encourage you to form discussion groups with the following documents:

4 mentorship sessions

1. Increasing the influence of women’s leadership

2. The value of caring work

3. Charities & political work

4. Government funding & the community sector



In conjunction with the leadership project, the Coalition conducted an action-research project in collaboration with researcher Lise Savoie of the Université de Moncton. The project helped us to understand how women's participation in community organizations creates space of empowerment. It also helped us to recognize and understand the roles assumed by women in different social spheres and how they are defined in this social participation.


1Lyons, Beth. (2011). Report on women’s leadership in New Brunswick’s community sector.

2 New Brunswick. Premier’s Community Non-Profit Task Force. (2007). Blueprint for Action: Building a Foundation for Self-Sufficiency. Fredericton: Government of New Brunswick.

3The HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector. (2010). Money Matters: Compensation in the Nonprof- it Sector, Trends and Issues. Ottawa.

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