HeARTwork project supports diverse women to advance into senior business roles  

Marci Ien

Conscious Economics, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to fostering economic dialogue in Canada, has launched the HeARTwork. This new solutions-based framework addresses the intersectional barriers diverse women face in advancing their careers and provides recommendations on how corporate Canada can help address these issues to prevent the loss of these unique perspectives and enhance the future of work.

The HeARTwork policy framework is designed to spark a progressive dialogue among corporate Canada. To start, the framework offers 11 actionable solutions to help support diverse women and their advancement into more senior roles in business.

HeARTwork was informed by six national focus group sessions taking place in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, and a national session with participants from various locations across the country, in late 2021. These focus groups involved 54 diverse, self-identifying, women from across the corporate workforce and were facilitated by Conscious Economics, Indigenomics Institute, OnePeopleTO, Canadian Arab Institute, and CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals.

Rhiannon Rosalind

The focus groups found that 100 per cent of participants agreed there is a work/life imbalance due to motherhood, caring for elders, and pandemic impacts. This indicates the needed shift in corporate Canada so diverse women can reclaim the narrative, and have additional support in career development, and wellbeing. In addition to work/life balance, the focus groups discussed the topics of disparities in career advancement, discrimination, mental health issues, and the concern for women leaving the corporate world.

“HeARTwork takes a conscious, grassroots approach to dismantling a deeply systemic inclusion gap, and is a true reflection of Conscious Economics’ commitment to equity-deserving populations,” said Rhiannon Rosalind, Founder & CEO of Conscious Economics.

The solutions presented in the HeARTwork framework are intended to spark dialogue, and innovation through their application within corporate Canada. This framework is designed to allow corporations to implement one, some, or all these solutions, to improve leadership and economic outcomes for diverse women operating within the corporate labour force.

“Our hope is that HeARTwork plays a major role in diverse women staying in senior business roles within corporate Canada,” continues Rhiannon Rosalind. “We want to create policy change, which exists at the intersection of art and business. We have created an art-forward zine to spark the conversation within corporate Canada and have enlisted the support of our Lunar Studios’ Artists in Residence to turn ground-breaking research into the single, ‘Changing’”.

“As the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, I’m proud to support Conscious Economics and the HeARTwork program. Increasing economic participation and upholding fairness and justice in our society are at the core of their incredible work,” said Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth of Canada.

“It’s time to lead with foresight and mindfulness to continue the dialogue alongside tangible actions. Innovative ideas must center the most systematically excluded groups – women, Black and/or melanated, Queer/Trans, neurodiverse folks, and those with mobility conditions – to truly affect change that benefits everyone,” said Sheena Ewan, Founder, OnePeopleTO.

Conscious Economics is a national not-for-profit organization and global social enterprise headquartered in Canada, with a 10-year history and proven track record in economic education, financial literacy programs, research, events and experiential learning.