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Young Women in Leadership 2019

Oakville North-Burlington MP Pam Damoff has announced the launch of her third annual Young Women in Leadership (YWIL) program.  The program, which will run from May 21-24, 2019, offers young women in Halton the opportunity to job-shadow in a local business, agency, organization, or government.

Local businesses and organizations, as well as young women and gender non-conforming youth currently in high school, pursuing post-secondary education or just starting out in their careers are invited to participate in this year’s program.

The goals of the YWIL program are to allow young women to: develop an understanding of different occupations in order to make informed career choices; increase knowledge of specific occupational skills and workplace settings;  gain career readiness skills, including the “soft skills” that employers look for in entry level workers; and,  build confidence in professional environments .

Work experiences are a critical component of preparing youth for the transition to adulthood. The need for a career shadow initiative for young women first came out of a roundtable on women’s empowerment hosted by MP Damoff on International Women’s Day in 2016.

“By investing in young Canadians, we are helping them build a stronger future and obtain the skills and experience they need to contribute to our economic growth,” said MP Damoff.  “We must commit to creating opportunities for women and girls to achieve and succeed by fostering systemic change and providing various forums for powerful female voices to be heard, like the opportunity to job-shadow in a local business, agency, organization, or government.”

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report estimates at the current rate of progress, it will take 217 years to close the gender parity gap. It’s more important than ever to press forward and demand that gap close faster.

One way to do that is to provide better educational opportunities to women and girls.  We can continue to create opportunities for them to achieve and succeed, foster systemic change and provide platforms for female voices.  We know that work experiences and female mentorship are critical components of preparing young women for future careers.

MP Damoff has been instrumental in creating a federal gender-based violence strategy and action plan to ensure workplaces and communities are free from harassment and sexual violence and empowering women and girls to fulfill their potential as equals in society.  The full and equal participation of women in the economy is essential to Canada’s future competitiveness and prosperity. The Federal Government launched the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy in Budget 2018, a comprehensive plan to help women grow their businesses through access to financing, talent, networks and expertise.

“By investing in young Canadians, we are helping them build a stronger future and obtain the skills and experience they need to contribute to our economic growth. We must commit to creating opportunities for women and girls to achieve and succeed by fostering systemic change and providing various forums for powerful female voices to be heard, like the opportunity to job-shadow in a local business, agency, organization, or government.”Pam Damoff, MPParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

And while there are many advances to celebrate in 2018, MP Damoff notes there is still a long way to go.  “We are still working for women’s economic security and women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics,” said Damoff. “As we prepare to celebrate International Women’s Day, I hope all Canadians will look for ways to include and empower girls through programs like my Young Women in Leadership program and join me in pushing for equality for women in our community, across Canada and around the world.”

The YWIL program is looking for local businesses and organizations to mentor a female student for one day during the week of May 21-24. Those interested in participating as a mentor are asked to contact Hilary Lawson at pam.damoff.a1@parl.gc.ca or by phone at 613-992-1338. Students who wish to participate as a mentee can fill out the application form here.  Both mentors and mentees should indicate their interest by April 19, 2019.