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Workshop encourages women in politics

Sara Wilson
Northern News Services
Published Friday, June 29, 2012

With a municipal election coming this fall, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Status of Women Canada are hosting training workshops to encourage women to run for political office.

The two-day workshops will be hosted at city hall from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 14 and 15 and organizers are hoping women from all over the territory will participate.

Currently the NWT boasts a 47 per cent female participation rate in municipal politics, well above the national average of just 25 per cent.

The NWT falls short, however, in territorial politics, with just two women occupying the legislative assembly's 19 seats - Frame Lake MLA Wendy Bisaro and Hay River South MLA Jane Groenewegen.

The federation wants to change that statistic.

"(It's) a program that we've developed to help potential candidates in their election bids, and what you need to do to run an election campaign," said Karen Leibovici, president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and an Edmonton city councillor. "It looks at some of the barriers that might be in place."

Staff from the federation and Status of Women Canada will cover a wide range of topics, including making the decision to run, financing the campaign, campaign ethics, canvassing, public speaking and media training.

Yellowknife city councillor Amanda Mallon is scheduled to participate in the workshops.

"I've always believed in being a role model as a woman who is in leadership and being a part of any opportunities that there are to explore this possibility."

Mallon will reflect on her own experiences on the campaign trail and hopes to dispel any apprehensions women may have embarking down the political route.

"Its hard for women to ask for help. It's hard to also keep the momentum up," Mallon said. "I found that I was thinking 'is this the right thing to do?" ... that's why these opportunities are great, because you get a chance to build relationships."

The registration fee includes meals and refreshments for both days, but workshop space is limited to 20 people per day.

Online registration is open through the federation's website.

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