Government to fund new program encouraging leadership in young women

The Canadian government announced $750,000 in funding to support young women in leadership roles.

The cash is earmarked for Plan Canada, YWCA Canada and YMCA Canada for their Strong Girls, Strong World project. The announcement was made March 8.

Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of the Status of Women, made the announcement at an International Women’s Day event at the Grosvenor Street YMCA in Toronto.

Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of the Status of Women, announced funding for the Strong Girls, Strong World project (Samantha Crisp/ Ryersonian Staff)

Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of the Status of Women, announced funding for the Strong Girls, Strong World project (Samantha Crisp/ Ryersonian Staff)

Strong Girls, Strong World is a two-year project supporting 10 women-led community projects across the country. Organizers hope the project will emphasize the potential of young girls by making them leaders and encouraging them to make a difference in the community.

Kristy Payne, vice-president of communications at Plan Canada, said the project will help young girls become more outspoken leaders.

“We’ve seen first-hand how girls are leading change by stepping out and speaking up for girls rights in our schools and communities,” she said.

“No matter what the barriers, both abroad and here at home, girls are up to the challenge and boldly claiming the rights, opportunities and brighter futures they deserve.” Payne said.

Muriam Fancy, a 17-year-old student, is involved in one of the 10 projects. Fancy has her own charity called One Nation, Two Worlds and is a recipient of the YMCA Peace Medallion, which recognizes individuals who build peace in their communities. She is also part of the 4Rs Youth Movement, which brings indigenous young people and non-indigenous young people together.

“As a woman I have not been taken seriously at times, not just because of my age, but because of my gender,” Fancy said. “A lot of people come to the hasty generalization that I’m either ignorant or I don’t know what I’m speaking about because I’m a girl.”

She said she thinks this program is so important because it allows women to educate themselves on how they can make a difference not only for their gender, but for the world.

Wendy Escobar, a fourth-year Ryerson student who attended the event, said the best part was the opportunity to speak with other young women and understand their different perspectives.
“We got to brainstorm and talk about different issues that we have faced and it is not often that we do get opportunities like this, so I thought it was great,” said Escobar.

Leitch said the federal government will also be forming a special women’s issues advisory council comprised of young women.The government is asking women across the country between the ages of 15-24 to apply.

The council will focus on issues that affect young women like cyber bullying, preventing violence against women and promoting positive role models.

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