A new national project launches this week in Thompson, Manitoba


June 9, 2010

FemNorthNet is a new research initiative headed to where few studies have gone before: to Canada’s North to examine how economic development uniquely impacts women.

“This is an important initiative aimed at listening to the voices of Northern women,” says Niki Ashton, federal MP for the area. “This initiative will help identify the reality and the particular needs of women in northern areas and how we can pursue inclusive and equitable development in our regions and across our country.”The project will also look at the social and economic challenges that persist in the North, not the least of which are those confronting Aboriginal populations.

Over five years in three communities – La Loche, Thompson, and Happy Valley-Goose Bay – FemNorthNet will collaborate with local women to answer tough questions about whether growth is sustainable or equitable for women, communities, and families.

“Hearing directly from women about their experiences with such social issues as poverty, violence, lack of child care, and housing will contribute to a broader understanding of whether economic development in the North is improving lives or, in fact, failing communities,” says project director Jane Stinson.

Women’s experiences will be analyzed within four main themes: community infrastructure and economic development; community engagement and governance; community inclusions and exclusions; and migration, immigration and mobility.

Ultimately, FemNorthNet will build the capacity of women and communities to improve community and economic development opportunities that take into account and address women’s specific needs, create prosperity for all women, and contribute to local sustainability.

FemNorthNet brings together a pan-Canadian ‘research alliance’ of researchers, advocates, and community leaders. Led by renowned researcher and policy analyst, Jane Stinson, the project is housed at the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW) and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

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