OTTAWA, May 1, 2019 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada believes that everyone has a role to play in championing gender equality and in taking action to ensure that all people – regardless of their gender or sexual orientation – can succeed in Canada and around the world.
That's why today, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality, officially launched the Government of Canada's Conversations on Gender Equality with Young Canadians, in honour of the inaugural meeting of the Youth Working Group on Gender Equality (YWG). The initiative was created thanks to a Budget 2018 investment of $7.2 million over five years in the Department for Women and Gender Equality to hold a national discussion on gender equality with young Canadians.
The Youth Working Group on Gender Equality is comprised of passionate, engaged young people who will lead initiatives to advance gender equality in Canada. They are meeting in Ottawa to develop strategies for a more inclusive society and exchange ideas with young leaders from across Canada on ways to further advance gender equality.
Many members will also take part in the Youth Summit, hosted by the Prime Minister of Canada, which is being held in Ottawa this week. During the summit, Minister Monsef will underscore Canada's commitment to achieving gender equality through the empowerment of women, girls, and people of all genders across the country. Members of the group will be joined by other engaged youth from across Canada to discuss some of the most critical issues facing youth in the world today, particularly those facing young women, girls, and LGBTQ2 individuals.
The Youth Working Group on Gender Equality is comprised of passionate, engaged young people who will lead initiatives to advance gender equality in Canada.
The National Youth Summit will also host other activities and discussions on issues of concern to youth, including: youth policy and service; health and wellness; employment, innovation, skills, and learning; environment and climate change; and leadership, social impact, and democratic participation.
"Young people today are part of the most powerful generation to have ever lived, and their engagement is essential to advancing gender equality. Yet we know they have the most at stake and the least voice at the table. That is why our government is engaging youth across Canada to hear their diverse perspectives and get their innovative ideas on how we can make Canada a more equal place for people of all genders. Everyone has a role to play, and I look forward to engaging with these young leaders at Canada's first National Youth Summit, and beyond."
The Honourable Maryam Monsef, P.C., M.P.
Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality
- There are 9 million youth across the country, aged 15 to 34 – that's about one-quarter of the country's population.
- The Department for Women and Gender Equality is launching a Youth Working Group on Gender Equality to develop a strategy to engage young Canadians on gender equality.
- In July 2016, the Government of Canada launched the Prime Minister's Youth Council as a platform for young people to engage directly with the Prime Minister and the Government to ensure that we do a better job of understanding and addressing the needs and perspectives of Canada's youth.
- The Youth Summit, a Privy Council Office initiative, will be held in Ottawa on May 2 and 3 where the Government of Canada will host 300 young activists from across Canada.
Youth Conversations on Gender Equality
The Department for Women and Gender Equality is launching the initiative, National Conversations on Gender Equality with Young Canadians.
National Conversations on Gender Equality with Young Canadians will expand and amplify youth-led dialogue about behaviours and attitudes that perpetuate gender inequality, and support action for long-term change.
The Initiative has two distinct but connected streams:
- A National stream, co-created between youth and the Department for Women and Gender Equality, to engage with diverse groups of youth across Canada; and
- An Indigenous stream, co-created between Indigenous youth and Indigenous organizations to engage Indigenous youth across Canada.
Expanding dialogue on gender equality with young Canadians will support youth capacity to build leadership and skills; support peer-to-peer engagement on gender equality issues; and support social change toward more inclusive and equitable ideas, attitudes, and behaviours.
To spearhead the Initiative, the Department has identified youth from across Canada to form the Youth Working Group on Gender Equality (YWG).
Youth Working Group on Gender Equality
The Youth Working Group on Gender Equality is made up of young Canadians who are passionate and engaged, and who will lead initiatives to advance gender equality in Canada.
The Youth Working Group on Gender Equality's members are:
- Allison Kilgour
Allison is a proven young leader from Manitoba with expertise in youth activism and gender-based violence prevention. She was a founding Director of Students for Consent Culture, a student-led gender-based violence prevention movement where she currently serves as Education Coordinator. Allison is a sought after speaker on mental health with Jack.org and is currently the Sexual Violence and Resource Specialist at the University of Manitoba. She will be starting her J.D. in September, 2019.
- Alyssa Carpenter
Alyssa is of Inuvialuit, Sahtu Dene and Gwich'in descent, and was born and raised in the Western Arctic region of the Northwest Territories. She currently resides in between Whitehorse and Yellowknife. Alyssa is an experienced social worker and uses her engagement and facilitation skills in outreach work with BYTE: Empowering Youth and Taking it Global. Additionally, Alyssa serves as one of two youth board members with Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada and is part of the 4Rs National Learning Community Northern Cohort.
- Amanda Kanbari
Amanda is a gender advocate and program developer from Yellowknife who works to advance gender equality for everyone in the North. She has created feminist gender-based programming that addresses gender inequality and gender-based violence in the North. Amanda's work has led her to speak on the international stage about gender inequality and the intersections of race, class, ability and how those living in rural areas within the Northwest Territories are affected by these intersections.
- Celeste Beauchamp
Celeste is a highly engaged Kanienkehaka Wolf Clan youth, from Kahnawake, Quebec. Celeste is currently majoring in Indigenous Social Work at Laurentian University, while working as a Special Projects Officer, and now as the Youth Policy Advisor, in the Native Women's Association of Canada's Youth Advocacy and Development Unit.
- Charlene Campo
Charlene is a passionate advocate for gender equality from Edmonton, Alberta. She is currently an Issues Integration Lead for the Government of Alberta, and is pursuing a Master of Arts in Gender and Social Justice at the University of Alberta. Described by her colleagues as a change agent, Charlene is fascinated with the preconditions that are necessary for sustained social change. In the past, she was a RISE Ambassador for Apathy is Boring, has served on the board of the Calgary Women's Emergency Shelter, has volunteered for front line services for the Women's Centre of Calgary, and was a contributor to the award winning Anti-Racist Organizational Change working group in Calgary.
- Christina Luo
Christina is a Youth Advisor for Plan International Canada's Youth Advisory Council from Edmonton, Alberta. Christina has proven experience in designing, advising on and implementing Plan's Youth for Gender Equality initiative, Canada's first youth-led UN SDG implementation plan. She is passionate about engaging youth on their role in measuring and achieving gender equality.
- Cyndia Mondésir
Cyndia is a young racialized feminist leader from Ottawa, Ontario, with a deep commitment to positive and progressive social change. She works with the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, and the Feminist Alliance for International Action to advance gender equality research and advocacy.
- Emma Ronsley
Emma is a recent law school graduate from Vancouver, British Columbia. In addition to organizing educational and extracurricular programming for at-risk youth, Emma has worked as a legal advocate in the areas of poverty law, family law, and child protection. She has experience designing and facilitating public legal education for high school students and is passionate about social justice education for youth.
- Geneviève Langlois-Benoit
Genevieve is a Métis youth from Winnipeg, Manitoba, who is currently attending law school at Robson Hall, University of Manitoba. She is highly engaged in her faculty and is an advocate for Indigenous rights on her campus, specifically in her role as an executive member of the Manitoba Indigenous Law Students' Association. Genevieve's engagement in her Métis community has resulted in her attending and participating in a variety of national and international conferences and events.
- Guyleigh Johnson
Guyleigh is an activist, poet and author from Nova Scotia. Her two books, Expect the Unexpected and Afraid of the Dark, explore racism, gender-based violence, social isolation and mental wellbeing in the black community. She is currently a student at Dalhousie University and is working on two additional books, including a children's book on Viola Desmond.
- Jonathon Reed
Jonathon is a dedicated youth leader from Ontario who specializes in adventure-based programming centered on boyhood masculinity. Jonathan coordinates school-based programs on positive masculinities for youth with Next Gen Men and hosts a podcast called Breaking the Boy Code. Additionally, he is a noted speaker and advocate on gender equality and LGBTQ2+ issues.
- Katie Davey
Katie Davey self-identifies as an inclusive policy advocate. She has held a number of policy and stakeholder engagement roles with a specialized focus on gender equality and youth engagement. She attributes her time as President of the University of New Brunswick Student Union as the foundation for her work. Recently, Katie launched Femme Wonk – a policy and current affairs podcast that discusses public policy through a gender and inclusion lens.
- Phaedra de Saint Rome
Phaedra is an entrepreneur, activist and community builder from Quebec. A graduate of McGill University with a mini-MBA from Stanford, she has been involved with a variety of grassroots and international organizations that focus on community engagement, climate action and women's empowerment, and was previously named a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum. Phaedra recently founded So What Media Inc., a new-era media company that aims to make current affairs more engaging while also empowering young women in Canada and abroad.
- Rae-Anne Harper
Rae-Anne is a First Nation and Métis youth leader from Saskatchewan. She currently serves as President of the National Association of Friendship Centre's Aboriginal Youth Council and has proven experience in youth program coordination for at-risk urban Indigenous young people. Rae-Anne hopes to assist in creating more sustainable programming for urban Indigenous youth.
- Raylene MacKey
Raylene Mackey is a passionate youth advocate from St. John's, Newfoundland, and Labrador, who specializes in empowering women in leadership. Raylene currently serves as an Assistant and Aide-de-Camp to the Lieutenant Governor of NL and the Co-Chair of the Premier's Youth Council. Additionally, Raylene is a radio personality on VOCM Radio. She is a former Page of the NL House of Assembly and a former Miss Teen NL. Raylene is an active volunteer and has received a Government URock Volunteer Award, a provincial Loran Award, and the Governor General of Canada Sovereign Medal for Volunteers. She most recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in political science (co-op) and law and society from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Raylene will begin her master's degree in the fall and aspires to attend law school in the future.
- Reese Estwick
Reese is an LGBTQ2 advocate and leader from Manitoba who started the first Gender Sexual Alliance in her school division, organized and led Pride Week in her school every year, and has been advocating to her school administration and school board to initiate a safe space for LGBTQ2 youth in schools. Additionally, she advocates for teachers to get LGBTQ2 ally training and recently mobilized over 50 students to create a video to raise awareness on Down syndrome.
- Richelle Ritchie
Richelle is youth leader from Saugeen First Nation #29 who is passionate about advocacy, particularly with regards to children and youth. She is currently completing her Master's of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University, while volunteering on the Independent First Nations Youth Working Group, and the Ontario First Nations Youth Peoples Council. Richelle now sits on the Assembly of First Nations National Youth Council as the Ontario Female Representative.
- Roshni Khemraj
Roshni is a youth leader from Ontario who is passionate about gender equality with a particular interest in grassroots organizing. She is currently entering her second year at Osgoode Hall Law School and is working in the Immigration Division of Parkdale Community Legal Services. Passionate about identifying new and creative ways to engage young people in areas of campaigning and activism, Roshni sits on Amnesty International's National Youth Action and Advisory Committee, and she is a public speaker and Youth Advisory Council member with Plan International Canada. Additionally, Roshni was an inaugural participant in the Girls Belong Here initiative having taken over the role of Plan's CEO on International Day of the Girl 2016.
- Stormy Bradley
Stormy is a young Indigenous woman, a single mother, and an active member of her community, the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nation, in Yukon. Over the past two years, Stormy has been working alongside other Indigenous youth leaders to end violence against women in their communities through a project called Shared Wisdom, VIDEA.
- Taya Nabuurs
Taya is a youth leader from Prince Edward Island who is passionate about civic engagement, eliminating gender-based violence, and improving women and girls' access to education. She has served as Vice-President (Academic & External) of the UPEI Student's Union, a member of the Premier's Youth Futures Council, specifically on the Action Committee on Family Violence Prevention, and was on the Board of Directors of the PEI Coalition for Women in Government.
- Tommy Hana
Tommy is a sexual and reproductive health rights advocate from Toronto who is passionate about global health. He is a medical student from the University of Toronto and completed his undergraduate studies at Queen's University as a Loran Scholar. He is currently a Remote Research Assistant at the Pamoja Tunaweza Women's Centre in Tanzania, a research assistant at the Centre for Global Health Research, Women's College Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital. His research focuses on adolescent contraception programs in low resource settings, access to maternal care and maternal mortality in India, publicly-funded transition-related surgery programs, and medical education. Additionally, Tommy is a consultant for the World Health Organization (Gender Equality and Human Rights), and has worked for KPMG and Doctors of the World UK. He recently represented the International Federation of Medical Students Associations at the UNCSW 63.
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For further information: Braeson Holland, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality, 343-549-8825; Valérie Haché, Senior Communications Advisor, Department for Women and Gender Equality, 819-420-8684