Training Women to Lead in Grande Prairie

On National Aboriginal Day, Status of Women is giving a $50,000 grant to a program that integrates sacred teachings with leadership training for women.

The unique 16-week “Leading the Way” leadership training program, offered through the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre, helps women remove barriers to achieve leadership roles – for board positions or to run for elected office. For Indigenous women, the ability to advance in business or politics can be especially difficult.

“Our identities are part of how we experience the world and how the world sets expectations of us. Equality is about leveling the field. That’s what “Leading the Way” does, and I’m proud our grant can help change outcomes for more women in Grande Prairie.”

Stephanie McLean, Minister of Status of Women

The program reflects the Indigenous 7 Sacred Teachings and integrates ceremony, talking circles and stories with skills training in business communication, conflict resolution, networking, leadership and entrepreneurship?to help more women run for office, sit on a board or start a business.

With Elders present and using traditional Indigenous practices like talking circles and storytelling, women will practise public speaking, parliamentary procedure and running board meetings. The training program reflects the Indigenous 7 Sacred Teachings: love, respect, courage, honesty, wisdom, humility and truth, along with cultural knowledge.

Knowing that women are often balancing their professional development with family care, the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre will provide free child care for participating mothers. Course hours also fit the schedules of mothers with school-aged children.

“This project is needed to improve the lives of Alberta women through development of knowledge and skills to increase economic security, leadership and democratic participation and to bring knowledge-sharing into the community. At present, there are no comprehensive programs that address gender inequalities through an interactional approach locally.”

Miranda Laroche, executive director, Grande Prairie Friendship Centre

About Status of Women grants

Status of Women’s first-ever grants 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 Leading the Way, work to end violence against women and girls, help women get good jobs and training and increase the number of women in leadership roles.