District And YWCA Receive $5,000 Grant For Project To Increase Women’s Participation In Local Government


The District of Muskoka, in partnership with YWCA Muskoka, has received a grant of $5,000 through the Towards Parity in Municipal Politics project, which aims to increase the participation of women in local government.

The Towards Parity program provides funding for local initiatives that reduce barriers and help women take part in local government. The District of Muskoka is one of grant 20 recipients across Canada that are being supported by the project, which is sponsored by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and funded by the Department for Women and Gender Equality. Muskoka’s branch of the project will focus on local women who are interested in becoming involved in municipal government. A one-day election school with three follow-up booster sessions will be offered in the spring of 2020 to help them prepare to work towards candidacy and running for municipal government in fall 2022. 

“The experiences of women in Muskoka are critical to the sustainable development and well-being of communities in changing times, especially when locally-delivered, provincially-funded services like employment supports, social assistance, child care fee subsidy, education and health are under pressure to privatize, downsize, develop new operational models or amalgamate into larger catchment areas,” said District of Muskoka Chair John Klinck. 

There are currently only 16 women among the 52 municipal councillors in Muskoka even though women make up nearly 51 per cent of the district’s permanent population, according to Statistics Canada. The project aims to increase the representation of women in municipal government across Muskoka and in turn amplify the voices and visibility of women.

“This project is particularly important as the perspectives and experiences of women need to be seen and heard in rural communities like Muskoka, and in local municipal government in general,” said Hannah Lin, executive director of YWCA Muskoka. “If decision-makers are predominantly men, Muskoka will continue to reflect the values, cultural perspectives, unconscious biases and priorities which benefits their interests’ above other more marginalized populations.” 

For more information about the project, contact YWCA Muskoka at 705-645-9827.


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