December 7, 2015

FCM initiative aims to strengthen role of women from diverse communities in local government.

(Ottawa) - The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) launched its Diverse Voices for Change initiative today in Ottawa. The program aims to increase the number of women from diverse communities who are actively participating in local government decision-making. In its initial phase, Diverse Voices for Change will work with four to six municipalities to help elected officials engage with urban Indigenous, racialized and underrepresented immigrant women to implement strategies, recommendations, policies and procedures to strengthen the voice of women from diverse communities.

"Diverse Voices for Change is a critical component of FCM's overall goal of achieving 30 per cent women's participation in municipal government by 2026. We need women from all communities to be more involved in the decisions that have an impact on the day to day lives of Canadians," said FCM President, Raymond Louie.

The United Nations defines 30 per cent as the minimal percentage of women required for government to reflect women´s concerns. Women in Canada represent 16 per cent of mayors and 26 per cent of councillors, for an average of 24 per cent. FCM is determined to close the gap. Over the last 10+ years, FCM has worked to involve women in local government decision making through programs such as Head Start for Young Women, Protégé, and Getting to 30%.

The Diverse Voices for Change initiative is supported by Status of Women Canada.

"I am very proud to be associated with FCM's new program Diverse Voices for Change Initiative. This collaborative program between municipalities and community organizations will ensure women across all diverse communities come together to engage in local politics and build a solid ground for a stronger and better democratic Canada," said Minister Patty Hajdu.

Interested municipalities can apply to be part of this initiative until January 15, 2016. Selected municipalities will have the support of an FCM program officer throughout the initiative as well as access to an enabling fund.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is the national voice of municipal government. In leading the municipal movement, FCM works to align federal and local priorities, recognizing that strong hometowns make for a strong Canada.

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