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First youth to hold seat on women's council

Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 16/02) - The Status of Women Council of the NWT will have a fresh perspective this year.

The newly-appointed council has a brand new position that is hoped to bring the voice of a younger generation to the table.

NNSL Photo

Natasha McCagg, a 26-year-old Yellowknife woman, is the first youth representative to be appointed to the Status of Women Council of the NWT.

Natasha McCagg, 26, is currently employed with the Department of Education, Culture and Employment and her involvement with the women's council speaks to her long history of community involvement.

A number of volunteer activities to her credit, McCagg says she has always prided herself in being a community-minded individual.

That past involvement and dedication to the betterment of her community has made her a perfect fit to be an advocate for young women of the North.

The fact that in the past young women have not had a peer voice on the council was something that attracted McCagg to the opportunity.

"I became interested in the Status of Women because they didn't have a younger presence," said McCagg.

The idea for a youth member was presented to the minister a couple of years ago, but it was not approved. This year, however, the concept was accepted and McCagg became the first youth appointee.

"I'm excited about it, it's a place that can really evoke change and your voice can really be heard," she said. "Frankly I didn't care if it was me or someone else but I was glad it was me because I am excited to be blazing the trail."

Born in Inuvik, McCagg has lived in various Northern communities and she says that experience makes her a natural fit as a peer representative for young northern women.

"I've seen what young women go through, in small communities in the North," says McCagg.

The women council's first face-to-face meeting will be a three-day workshop held from Sept. 19 to 21 and McCagg says she is excited to learn what her role on the council will be.

"I'm really looking forward to our first meeting, so I can find out what I am doing," she said.

Without a framework for her position she doesn't know exactly what her objectives will be but she does have some basic goals for the position itself.

"I'm committed, and I'm dedicated and I hope these characteristics carry through," she said. "My goal is to set a good example so the minister considers making this a permanent position because I think it's important for young women to have a forum to speak and be heard."

Barbara Saunders, executive director with the Status of Women Council NWT, says McCagg's two year inaugural appointment is a benefit to the board that has traditionally been made up of an older generation.

"We like to be as diverse as possible," she said.