December 2010

Looking for tomorrow's leaders

The Journal Pioneer
By Amber Nicholson

WELLINGTON - The federal government is investing $300,000 into the Atlantic Summer Institute, a project aimed at preparing and encouraging women in Atlantic Canada to become leaders in their communities.

The announcement was made on Monday by federal minister Gail Shea on behalf of the Minister for Status of Women, Rona Ambrose, at the Collège Acadie in Wellington.

''We have a lot of women who see issues that they know they need to address ... they identify the issue but they don't have the skills to know how to go about it,'' said ASI co-ordinator Patsy Beattie-Huggan at Monday's announcement. ''What we want do so is really empower those girls and women to work in their local communities to generate that excitement and that energy, to really take action and make stronger communities.''

Held since 2004, the ASI aims to strengthen the health and safety of communities by examining underlying issues. The event is held mid-summer in Charlottetown and is open to women across Atlantic Canada.

''We will be developing four workshops that will be piloted in August. Once piloted and tested, they will then be adapted to be delivered throughout Atlantic Canada,'' Beattie-Huggan explained. ''We will be looking at that and taking a very proactive approach to address some of those issues.''

''Instead of waiting until the violence occurs and dealing with the policies later, we're trying to have women more engaged and more empowered to be leaders in their communities so that we create a better society.''

The project will enhance the leadership abilities of 265 women who have been identified as leaders in their communities. In turn, the women will work to overcome barriers to engage in local decision-making processes.

''Our government believes in empowering girls and women to participate in every aspect of the democratic process,'' said Shea. ''This project will offer girls and women from all parts of Atlantic Canada the chance to expand their horizons and become the community leaders and decision-makers of the future.''

The announcement was aptly made on Dec. 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Source: The Journal Pioneer

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