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Understanding the layers of oppression in our society and how they impact every aspect of culture is vital. Working toward anti-oppression in any context involves turning traditional power/privilege dynamics into interconnected communities.

YWCA GirlSpace is collectively dedicated to integrating the power of diversity and difference in our daily lives and in our programmatic work.  A commitment to anti-oppression is not just about consciousness-raising; it is also a critical component to developing an inclusive, multiracial movement that can achieve economic, social, environmental and racial justice.

Working within this context, we aim to bring the considerations of privilege and understanding of oppression into our work with young women:

These are difficult topics and as part of our commitment to anti-oppression, we seek to work within a framework that raises consciousness on all forms of discrimination.  Here is the GirlSpace Anti-Oppression policy that many Member Associations have adopted and you may find useful as a starting point for discussion..

GirlSpace Anti-Oppression Policy

The GirlSpace Anti-Oppression Policy is intended to act as a positive force for equity and the elimination of oppression.

GirlSpace is committed to working within a context of anti-oppression on the basis of (but certainly not limited to) ethnicity, language, race, age, ability, sex, sexual or gender identity, sexual orientation, family status, income, immigrant or refugee status, nationality, place of birth, generational status, and political or religious affiliation in all aspects. 

Diversity within our programs adds cultural, social and economic benefits to our programming.  In saying this, we must also be sensitive to the fact that oppressed groups experience marginalization and encounter barriers to full access and participation in the community.  GirlSpace seeks to increase access and participation, especially for those who are marginalized, disadvantaged or oppressed.

By encouraging girls to participate fully and have access to GirlSpace and other YWCA services, we make every effort to see that our structure, policies and systems reflect all aspects of the total community and promote equal access to all.

GirlSpace strives to ensure that:

  • Girls enrolled in our programs are valued participants who have opportunities to shape and evaluate our program initiatives;
  • It responds to the needs and priorities of the communities it serves, giving space to marginalized communities with sensitivities to the needs of diverse groups;
  • Sessions are provided with sensitivity to the influence of power and privilege in helping relationships and are delivered in keeping with anti-oppression principles;
  • Staff and volunteers are reflective of the community;
  • Discriminatory or oppressive behaviours are not tolerated;
  • Materials are presented in a positive and balanced portrayal of girls’ diverse experiences.


*Adapted from The Family Service Association of Toronto Anti-Oppression Policy and the BC Health Coalition Policy on Anti-Oppression.


Want more info: Check out Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services’ website:

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