Canada’s northern governments get more than $1 million to advance gender equality

The Northwest Territories is set to receive $525,000 from the federal government, while Nunavut will receive $600,000.

By Mieke Coppes, High North News - August 13, 2019
The legislature of Canada’s Northwest Territories only has two women, out of 19 seats. Canada’s federal government is funding efforts to support women in northern governments.

Two of Canada’s three northern territories will see funding from a federal initiative to empower women in government.

The Northwest Territories is set to receive $525,000 from the federal government, while Nunavut will receive $600,000.

In the Northwest Territories, the funds will bolster the $121,500 that the territorial government has invested in supporting women in political leadership roles. This money will be spent on a public information campaign and new school curriculum.

Efforts to get more women in politics

Currently only two of the 19 seats in the Territorial Legislative Assembly are held by women.

When it comes to federal politics, the current Member of Parliament from the NWT is a man, and in the upcoming federal election, none of the candidates announced will be women — although, one of the main political parties, the NDP, has not yet declared its candidate.

“This funding will greatly enhance the GNWT’s efforts to get more women involved in politics,” said Caroline Cochrane, minister for Education, Culture, Employment and Status of Women at the Government of the Northwest Territories.

In Nunavut, funds will support the Nunavut Women and Girls Leadership and Governance Initiative. This will go to the Department of Family Services and will create a Women and Girls Leadership Forum, as well as a number of workshops in communities across the territory.

In the Nunavut Legislative Assembly only five of the 21 seats are held by women. In the upcoming federal election, two parties will be running women candidates: Leona Aglukkaq (Conservative) and Megan Pizzo-Lyall (Liberal). The NDP and Green parties have not yet declared their candidates.

“There is no doubt that the outcome of these projects will benefit gender equality and grow leadership capacity within all Nunavut communities,” said Elisapee Sheutiapik, minister for Family Services, Status of Women, Homelessness, Immigration, and Poverty Reduction at the Government of Nunavut.

The funding comes from the 2018 budget, which provided $100 million dollars over five years for women’s issues and the 2019 budget which committed an additional $160 million over 5 years for Women and Gender Equality Canada’s Women’s Programs.

What about Yukon?

In October 2018, Canada’s federal government provided $867,500 over three years to support three Indigenous women’s organizations in Yukon Territories: the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, the Whitehorse Aboriginal Women’s Circle, and the Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council. This funding was specifically focused, not on women in government, but on the wider goal of advancing gender equality in Canada.

When we advance gender equality, we grow Canada’s economy and create safer communities, but no order of government can do this work alone,” said Maryam Monsef, federal minister for the Status of Women said, at the time that funding was announced.