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Removing the Barriers to Young Women's Participation in Local Government (09/03/2015)

OTTAWA, ON - To mark the occasion of International Women's Day, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) released a guidebook today to help municipalities remove barriers to women's participation in local government.

FCM's Head Start for Young Women helps participants identify not only the barriers that prevent women from advancing in politics, but ways to break them down. The program ran in six municipalities across the country during 2013-2014: Grand Forks (BC), London (ON), Ottawa (ON), Gatineau (QC), Bathurst (NB) and Rigolet (NL).

"FCM's work in supporting and encouraging the participation of women, especially young women, in local government has achieved real success," said Brad Woodside, President of FCM. "Women make an invaluable contribution and our communities and our country cannot afford to miss out on the insights and expertise of half its citizens."

The experiences of these groups have been synthesized into the tool kit "Removing the Barriers to Young Women's Participation in Local Government: A Guidebook to Creating a Head Start Group for Young Women". It outlines concrete steps to launch Head Start groups, break down barriers and give young women the tools needed to eventually enter politics or assume other leadership roles.

"I want to understand why more young women aren't engaging in politics, what are the barriers they are facing?" said Gatineau Coucillor Sylvie Goneau, who mentored a group of young women in the program. "The Head Start guide helps us understand the challenges they face and provides powerful tools to boost women's representation in all order of governments." 

FCM actively supports the rights of women everywhere in the world to vote, stand for election and hold public office at all levels of government and encourages as well their participation in all aspects of public and political life. The Head Start for Young Women's Program, supported by Status of Women Canada, is part of FCM's contribution to removing barriers that prevent full participation by women in public life. The guidebook can be downloaded on FCM's program webpage at fcm.ca/women.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is the national voice of municipal government representing 90 per cent of Canada's municipal population.

Page Updated: 21/12/2015