Evidence of meeting #31 for Status of Women in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was students.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

4:30 p.m.

President, Femmes Équité Atlantique

Anne-Marie Gammon

Currently, about $600,000 is set aside for the Femmes Équité Atlantique project. We have organized interprovincial meetings for young women of all ages. That project was supported by Status of Women Canada and sponsored by the Association acadienne et francophone des aînées et aînés du Nouveau-Brunswick, New Brunswick's Acadian and francophone seniors association.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Susan Truppe London North Centre, ON

What does this funding do for your organization? You mentioned $600,000 for the interprovincial encounters. How could that help you?

4:30 p.m.

President, Femmes Équité Atlantique

Anne-Marie Gammon

That funding has enabled us to organize interprovincial meetings with girls and women of all ages. At those meetings, participants have an opportunity to discuss and establish the possibility of implementing interprovincial mentorship projects for young women, girls and older women. The funding has also enabled us to provide young women with tools and consolidate the whole francophone and Acadian women's community in its power to act.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Susan Truppe London North Centre, ON

Great. Thank you very much.

You published a document in 2010 called a guide for girls and young women. My understanding—and I'm not sure if it's correct—is that Status of Women Canada funded the publication.

Is that correct, or was that a different funding?

4:30 p.m.

President, Femmes Équité Atlantique

Anne-Marie Gammon

Yes, exactly. That guide is still in demand today. We published a second edition sold mostly in New Brunswick. We actually have no books left. We have been receiving very positive feedback, not only from young girls, but also from teachers who tell us about the positive aspect of that guide, which helps young women take control of their future.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Susan Truppe London North Centre, ON

That's great to hear. Thank you for that.

It's my understanding that the guide speaks to us about money management and community participation, amongst other things. Can you tell us what it says to the girls on those subjects? Why is it in such demand? What is in there that is so great for them?

4:35 p.m.

President, Femmes Équité Atlantique

Anne-Marie Gammon

That's because we have published four guides—one per province. The guides provide young girls with practical examples and references they can use to find information that contributes to their efforts to become much more autonomous, and to develop positive attitudes regarding sexual abuse or any other kind of abuse. Teachers use the guides in their classroom, as part of self-development courses. Other stakeholders, in schools, also help girls make sense of the guide. When they need to provide young girls with references, they have access to this practical and specific information.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Susan Truppe London North Centre, ON

Thank you.

As you know, the focus of our committee study is prospects for Canadian girls with regard to economic prosperity, participation, and economic leadership, and what changes can be made by Status of Women to its approach in improving them.

Could you tell us, from your experience, what you think the focus of Status of Women Canada should be when trying to directly improve the economic participation, prosperity, and leadership of girls in Canada?

4:35 p.m.

President, Femmes Équité Atlantique

Anne-Marie Gammon

You are talking about something that's very close to my heart. We have a youth centre here, in Bathurst. Two years ago, I participated in the activities of the Girls Action Foundation and other similar organizations. Status of women has improved owing to three elements.

First, entities such as the Bathurst Youth Centre develop projects. Those centres are bilingual. They can provide training and organize activities for young people in order to develop their self-esteem and create a positive attitude with regard to young women's participation.

Second, we must develop the skills of the adults involved with those young women—be they teachers or women working in the community—so that they can also inflame that passion in young women.

Third, there is a movement in Bathurst called “Synergies” for young adults between the ages of 18 and 35. Its goal is to work with those groups on facilitating the training of the young women involved.

I was disappointed because I thought some of the young women from “Synergies” would run in the election. Unfortunately, none of them did, but it was not for lack of trying. As there is not enough funding, there is no one to kindle, fuel and maintain the passion in young women.

4:35 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Marie-Claude Morin

Thank you, Ms. Gammon.

We will now go to the official opposition side.

Ms. Ashton, you have about five minutes remaining before we hear from the other witness.

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton Churchill, MB

I want to thank Ms. Gammon. I really appreciated your comments. You talked about the lack of confidence in young women, and confidence is a must for running in an election. I really enjoyed your analysis.

I would first like to yield the floor to my colleague Anne-Marie Day, who has a question for you.

April 30th, 2012 / 4:40 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Good afternoon, madam. I am very interested in hearing what you have to say. Among the programs you are promoting for girls and women, are there any about guidance, management, the female enterprising spirit and the integration of women in non-traditional lines of work, where there are more jobs in the regions for men than women? Does anyone help them with integration? I am talking about guidance, management, the female enterprising spirit and jobs traditionally reserved for men.

4:40 p.m.

President, Femmes Équité Atlantique

Anne-Marie Gammon

Yes, those programs exist, but there are problems. We need to train those providing the guidance, those providing decision-making support to girls to ensure they are well-advised when they finish high school.

All girls do not have the same type of intelligence. As you know, there are seven or eight types of intelligence. Formal education is not for everyone. Some girls are incredibly skilled with their hands and see the world in a different way. It is important to steer them towards non-traditional occupations. Women who are re-entering the workforce often choose non-traditional occupations, but there are far fewer female high school graduates opting for those fields.

In New Brunswick, there are a number of things happening. We have a program aimed at narrowing the wage gap. Young women wanting to enter non-traditional occupations receive scholarships. Scholarships are also available to young men choosing to enter non-traditional occupations. The REDDI project endeavours to support young female entrepreneurs, in partnership with local businesses. There are entrepreneurial networks for young women. I have to hand it to the federal government; they've done a good job in terms of funding projects that help young women start their own businesses, but it is usually more mature young women who go that route. Today, more women are starting their own small or medium-sized businesses and becoming entrepreneurs.

4:40 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Earlier, you shared a bit about your own experience. I believe you work for the city council. Do you offer any programs, in cooperation with Status of Women Canada, aimed at increasing the number of women who sit on boards of directors, whether it be for hospitals, banks or schools?

4:40 p.m.

President, Femmes Équité Atlantique

Anne-Marie Gammon

Yes, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities had a program. When their officials came to New Brunswick, I attended a few of their presentations. I even helped organize some with Lise Ouellette, who was the director general of the Association francophone des municipalités du Nouveau-Brunswick.

In the French-speaking part of the province, three sessions were held, each attracting 20 or so participants, who were very appreciative. A project was also established together with the Association acadienne et francophone des aînées et aînés du Nouveau-Brunswick called “Éveil à la citoyenneté des femmes et comment l'exercer”. The project targets not just women 50 and older, but also women of all ages, who were invited to participate. Equal Voice also hosted meetings. Unfortunately, however, of the organization's 76 or so participants, only 7 or 8 were French-speaking. We must find ways to encourage young—