Indigenous Women and Two-Spirit Leadership Summit and Campaign School
The Halifax Regional Municipality is pleased to be hosting its first Indigenous Women and Two-Spirit Leadership Summit and Campaign School, taking place at Acadia Hall (650 Sackville Drive) in Lower Sackville on Friday, September 22, 2023, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The intent of this program is to reduce the systemic barriers Indigenous women, gender diverse, and two-spirit peoples face in running for and partaking in local government. Through networking opportunities and a curriculum tailored to the unique needs and experiences of Indigenous people, this program aims to increase the number of Indigenous women, gender diverse, and two-spirit peoples on Halifax Regional Council, Mi’kmaq governance groups, and municipal advisory boards and committees.
What to expect
In this campaign school, we will touch on a variety of topics related to governance systems, campaigning strategies and best practices. Participants will:
- Learn about how Mi’kmaq governance systems are run, the traditional roles and responsibilities of women in Mi’kmaq governance;
- Learn how municipal government is run and campaign strategies;
- have the chance to talk to leaders and ask questions about their experiences in the world of politics;
For additional information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In recent years, the Halifax Regional Municipality has made progress in advancing the participation of women and Indigenous people in the municipality. However, much work must be done to reduce the systemic barriers for Indigenous women, gender diverse, and two-spirit people to run for and truly thrive in municipal government.
In 2019, following what was learned during the Diverse Voices for Change program, Halifax Regional Council created the Women’s Advisory Committee of Halifax. This committee was formed to advise on the impact of policies, programs, and services on women, with the goal of full participation of all women in civic and community affairs through the elimination of barriers and creating equitable opportunities for the voices of women to be heard.
A year later, the municipality adopted the recommendations and approved the proposed responses put forward in the Report on the Task Force on the Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History.
Following the 2020 Municipal Election, Regional Council reached gender parity, with an equal number of men and women elected. While significant improvement has been made, there is still work to be done to eliminate the systemic barriers that prevent Indigenous women, gender diverse, and two-spirit people from running for and participating in local government.
According to recent data, women represent 51.5 per cent of Halifax’s population but only represent 38 per cent of members on municipal advisory boards and committees. When we look at these boards and committees with an intersectional lens, the representation of racialized women, including those who identify as Indigenous, this number drops to 5.3 per cent. Following the Diverse Voices for Change Campaign School in 2018, the municipality gathered feedback from Indigenous women participants. From the feedback received, a need was identified to adapt educational programs such as the campaign school to the unique needs and experiences of Indigenous people to better reflect their culture and ways of governing beyond municipal structures.
This campaign school is being run through partnerships involving the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Halifax Regional Municipality, the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association, the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women, and the Mi’kmaq Circle of Hope Society.