Helping Indigenous and Immigrant Women in Politics

Indigenous and immigrant women are leaders in their communities, yet remain under-represented in politics. A Status of Women grant is helping change that.

Minister McLean announces grant funds at the IAAW Indigenous Women’s Justice Forum in Edmonton. The event happened during Women’s History Month in Alberta.


The Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women (IAAW) will use a $100,000 grant to build a collaborative strategy to support more Indigenous and immigrant women, especially in rural areas, become leaders in their communities and, ultimately, run for elected office.

The strategy includes practical ways, such as a buddy system and women’s circles and leadership workshops, to support women along their leadership journey — from volunteering and serving on community leagues and boards, to running for local councils, provincial or federal governments.

Leadership workshops geared towards Indigenous women begin in November, with another series in January geared towards immigrant women. They will include panel discussions and training on public speaking and making your voice heard.

“When leaders reflect the community they serve, they can make better decisions for everyone. I am proud to support more Indigenous and immigrant women to become active in shaping the future of their communities and make life better for all Albertans.”
~ Stephanie McLean, Minister of Status of Women

This initiative recognizes that many Indigenous and immigrant women encounter additional barriers when running for office, including racism, lower income levels, intergenerational trauma and doing more unpaid care work at home.

“Collaboratively with other women’s organizations, we plan to build the confidence and skills in women to increase their opportunity to be involved in decision-making that affect them and their families.”
~ Rachelle Venne, CEO, Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women

IAAW is partnering with several organizations on this initiative: Federation of Canadian Municipalities, City of Edmonton’s Women’s Initiative and Women’s Advocacy Voice of Edmonton Committee, Equal Voice – Alberta North Chapter, Women in Leadership Foundations and Indo-Canadian Women’s Association.

Women are under-represented in leadership positions in Alberta, especially on municipal councils. In the 2013 municipal elections, Albertans elected women to 490 of 1,874 positions – an average of 26 per cent.

About Status of Women grants

Status of Women’s first-ever grant program funds 34 innovative projects by not-for-profit and charitable organizations for a total of $1.5 million in the 2016-17 fiscal year.

Successful projects, such as the Indigenous Women in Leadership project, increase the number of women in leadership roles. Other grants have supported Indigenous women’s leadership in Grande Prairie and training and peer-mentoring for Indigenous women to start their businesses and create jobs.