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Volunteer Spotlight - Kate Grantham

In 2009, I conducted a 4-month summer internship with Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) in Ottawa. The objective of this internship was to evaluate the status of women and gender considerations within the organizations' international partnership program, comprised of more than seventy international projects. My primary responsibility was to design a gender analysis framework for conducting the 2009 assessment of the partnership program, and for possible use by staff conducting future gender assessments. I then delivered a report and presentation documenting my findings and recommendations to the Board of Directors of both CCA and the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada.

The reason that I originally wanted to volunteer with CCA was to put into practice the research and analysis skills that I had developed during my undergraduate degree (BA Honors - double major in Women's Studies and Human Rights from Carleton University). I also sought to work with an organization promoting global economic justice and gender equality.

I appreciated CCA's commitment to establishing international co-operatives serving individuals without access to financial services. I knew from my studies that women around the world are disproportionately poor and economically marginalized, and for this reason, gender analysis also seemed essential to CCA's programming efforts. In other words, it felt like the work I was doing offered a valuable contribution to the organization.

I learned a lot about gender analysis and international development programming during my internship. I also gained a deeper understanding about the particular economic burdens facing women around the world.

This work had a huge influence on my educational and career paths. I felt inspired.

The following September, I enrolled in a Feminist Research MA program at the University of Western Ontario, where I also went on to earn a PhD. My doctoral research examined effective models for promoting Tanzanian women's economic and social status through microfinance. In addition to teaching international development studies, I now work as a research associate at McGill University on an international women's economic empowerment project (the GrOW Project). It is plain to see just how influential my internship at CCA turned out to be!

Kate Grantham, PhD
Research Associate, Institute for the Study of International Development, McGill University