Women's Leadership Development


A large part of FemNorthNet’s work has been engaging with women in northern communities to discover what it takes to be a woman in a leadership position in the North. Each partner community developed a unique model to encourage participation of women whose voices are normally underrepresented in community decision-making (particularly Aboriginal women, women living with disabilities, immigrant women, and young women).

We learned that the barriers to leadership for women in these northern communities are significant. We also identified key elements needed to support women as northern community leaders. With FemNorthNet’s support, women were able to come together to deepen their leadership abilities and begin to develop concrete, practical solutions to address urgent needs in their communities, including the need for affordable housing, access to the land, employment, childcare supports and transition homes for women. The Network itself provided tremendous support to women and offered countless opportunities for co-learning. More for information on FemNorthNet’s leadership activities, click here.


Download the Leadership Report

Developing Women Leaders in Northern Communities Report

Learn more about the leadership models and processes in our report "Developing Women Leaders in Northern Communities".

Women's Empowerment Workshop Guide

Cover of the Thompson Workshop GuideFemNorthNet's BluePrints project asked the question: How can we help northern women develop the leadership skills needed to influence local decision making about economic development?

What our network realized was that in order to be effective leaders, women first needed to be empowered.

In Thompson, Manitoba empowerment meant each woman understanding who she was, what she wanted in life, and being given the self-care and practical life tools to get there. 

Download the Thompson Women's Empowerment Workshop Guide today to adapt it, build on it, and use it to forward women's leadership in your community!

Watch the Video Series

Our Women's Leadership Video Series features interviews with women who act in a wide variety of leadership roles in northern communities. Also included is the short documentary "Nikan Iskewak (Women First)", which explores the Sharing Circle model used to empower and engage women in Norway House Cree Nation, Manitoba. APTN provided additional coverage on the leadership model used in Happy Valley - Goose Bay, which you can watch here.

Watch Dene versions of our leadership films (includes the leadership report summary, interview with the Happy Valley - Goose Bay Creative Action Researchers, and Nikan Iskewak)

Nikan Iskewak is now also available in English with described video

Instructions for using the video player

To turn on closed captioning click on the "Subtitles/CC" button (second button in the lower, right-hand YouTube player menu options.

To switch between videos, use the drop-down menu in the upper, left-hand corner of the YouTube player. 

To order copies of these materials...

To request hard copies of the reports or videos available in the Women’s Leadership section, or to request permission for use, please contact us at info@criaw-icref.ca.


CRIAW would like to acknowledge the following individuals and organizations for their contributions to FemNorthNet’s leadership work:

  • Community Partners: The Northern Village of La Loche, Thompson Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation (TNRC), Labrador West Status of Women Council, and Mokami Status of Women Council.
  • Interview Participants: Petrina Beals, Karen Oldford, Carmela Hutchison, Doris Sacrey, Charlene Lafreniere, Charlotte Lessard, Mernie Kelly, Noreen Careen, Liz Sousa, Amanda Dyson, Bernice Earle, and Harriet Paul (Interview participants)
  • Interviewers/Videographers/Community Liaisons: Petrina Beals, Sara Tedford, and Erin Aylward
  • Translation & Interpretation: Michele Briand, Caroline Paquette, and Jacqueline Neapole (French), Daisy Monias (Cree), Agnes Dantouze (Dene)
  • Project Coordinator: Jessica McCuaig
  • Report Authors: Jane Stinson and Libby Davies
  • Graphic Design: Marlyn Bennett (EB2 Image Design Research)
  • Accessible Design: Jessica McCuaig
  • Web Development: Dominique Soublière
  • "Women First (Nikan Iskewak)" Producer: Daisy Monias
  • Video & Sound Editing: Sara Tedford & Jessica McCuaig
  • Video Captioning: Precision Transfer & Jessica McCuaig
  • Content Reviewers: Dawn Sands, Deborah Stienstra, Georgina Jolibois, Noreen Careen, Petrina Beals

Finally, CRIAW would like to thank Status of Women Canada, whose funding enabled our community partners to develop models to support and equip women with the skills needed to deal with community changes and how to make their concerns heard, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, whose funding allowed us to make the videos accessible to many different audiences through closed captioning in English and French, as well as audio interpretations in French and Dene.

© The Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (2014)

The information, videos, and reports produced by FemNorthNet and made available on this page are intended for private use only. Copying, editing, or distributing these materials for public use is strictly prohibited unless permission has been granted by the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women. Use of these materials for commercial purposes is prohibited.

The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) reserves all rights to the video clip on FemNorthNet supported leadership activities in Happy Valley – Goose Bay.