Grants have been awarded to both the District of Kitimat and the Town of Smithers to provide financial and other supports meant to encourage women to run for elected office in northwestern B.C. and, if elected, provide ongoing assistance.
Each community is getting $10,000 from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for the “Elect Her! Northwest BC” program.
The program will be overseen through a steering committee of women currently in elected positions in Kitimat, Smithers and within the Haisla Nation.
“It is incredibly important to ensure that the women in our communities feel welcome and encouraged to take a place in their elected governments and that they enter that space with a feeling of safety and support,” says Haisla Nation Council Chief Councillor Crystal Smith. “I’m proud to be involved in this cause to make a future that is more inclusive for women.”
The committee will work to remove barriers that might stop women from having meaningful participation.
“The heart of this campaign is our mission to celebrate and normalize the role of diverse women in elected positions in local governments,” says District of Kitimat Councillor Lani Gibson. “We know that too often women simply don’t see themselves in this role. We want to spark conversations that shift what women, and our communities, think about what it means to be an effective leader.”
The program covers the area from Haida Gwaii to Houston and applies to women interested in municipal, regional district, school district and First Nations elected positions.