Meseret Haileyesus is changing the landscape for domestic violence survivors to recover from economic abuse with her non-profit Canadian Center for Women’s Empowerment (CCFWE). Driven by her passion for gender equality and women’s rights, Meseret has spent over 16 years working with various national and international organizations on countless projects centred on issues from economic empowerment to maternal health. With the goal of addressing systemic barriers that hold women and girls back from realizing their full potential, Meseret is a remarkable change maker in her community and beyond.
With CCFWE, Meseret’s work addresses financial security and long-term safety for survivors while focusing on how economic and financial abuse affects women across different socio-economic backgrounds, ages and ethnicities. CCFWE provides a much-needed support system for Canadian women by empowering survivors of gender-based violence through advocacy, education, public policy change and more, including pushing Canadian banks to eliminate banking practices that target women with excessive burdens, such as debt and bad credit scores.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Meseret has pivoted CCFWE’s platform to offer confidential virtual support groups for survivors of domestic violence that deal with economic abuse, mental health and safety planning. To build on the existing community to support women’s long-term safety, she is committed to fast-tracking services for financial security through technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. She’s currently pushing policy makers to expand the federal strategy to end gender-based violence to include economic abuse.
In addition to her dedication to CCFWE, Meseret was named one of the 100 Most Accomplished Black Canadian Women in 2019 and one of the Top 100 Women to Watch in Canada in 2020.
Established in 2017, Canadian Center for Women’s Empowerment (CCFWE) is an Ottawa-based national organization that tackles financial and economic abuse among women and survivors of domestic violence. According to CCFWE’s website, economic abuse is experienced by more than 96 percent of women who experience intimate partner violence.
From its inception, CCFWE has focused on filling a national need to spread awareness about economic abuse by teaching women how to protect their assets from their abusers before they leave and by helping survivors to rebuild their lives and gain control of their finances. CCFWE works collaboratively with organizations to develop a comprehensive plan that enables survivors to recover from financial abuse, achieve financial independence and build communities that support individual, intergenerational and collective healing.