‘Barriers remain’ to gender equality in the NWT

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Public servants in the Northwest Territories meet on Thursday to discuss ways of raising the number of Indigenous women in senior government roles.

The meeting, from 12pm at Yellowknife’s City Hall, follows research claiming eight percent of senior Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) positions are filled by Indigenous women.

Nina Larsson, who conducted that research, will moderate a panel featuring top NWT civil servants and representatives of the Tlicho Government.

“We have a lack of representation of Indigenous women,” Larsson told Moose FM.

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“I found there was very little resource available that talks about Indigenous women in leadership, in the NWT in particular.”

In full: Read Nina Larsson’s research, ‘Mind the Gender Gap’ (pdf)

Larsson says the GNWT does have policies in place to promote the development of Indigenous women and progress is being made – but barriers to senior positions remain.

“I don’t think there are any countries in the world where there are no barriers any more,” she said.

“For the NWT, we have recommendations that can help identify the barriers and have different solutions in place to address them.”

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At the start of 2015 the GNWT employed 5,141 staff, 3,313 of which were female. Of female employees, 1,107 were Indigenous Aboriginal and 390 were Indigenous non-Aboriginal (born in the NWT or living in the territory for half or more of their life).

Larsson’s research, which focused on comparisons with Scandinavian models, found Indigenous women filled 21 of 245 senior GNWT positions.

Find out more: Details of Thursday’s panel discussion

Thursday’s audience will hear from Kyla Kakfwi Scott, the K’asho Got’ine daughter of former NWT premier Stephen Kakfwi, whose family hails from Fort Good Hope. Kakfwi Scott is a senior advisor to the deputy minister of health and social services.

Others on the panel include Department of Justice assistant deputy minister Charlene Doolittle, a Sahtu beneficiary of the Norman Wells Land Corporation and Deline First Nation; Martin Goldney, deputy minister of Aboriginal affairs; and the Tlicho Government’s Grace Mackenzie.

Entry is free for members of Dene Nahjo – of which both Larsson and Kakfwi Scott were founder members – or the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC). Non-members can register for $20. A recording will be published to IPAC’s YouTube channel.

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