Despite gains toward equal political representation, there continues to be an important gender gap in leadership for all orders of government in Canada. In 2021, at the municipal level, women hold just over a quarter of council seats. This democratic deficit is even more pronounced for women from diverse or marginalized backgrounds. FCM wants to help close this gap because Canada is better served when women and diverse communities contribute their insights and expertise. Their voices enrich our political discourse and inform decision-making.
Canadian Women In Local Leadership (CanWILL) is a three-year project (2021-2024) that is part of FCM’s portfolio of social inclusion initiatives. The project aims to increase the participation and retention of women in municipal leadership and support a more diverse, inclusive and equitable environment in municipal governance processes. The project will prioritize underrepresented women including Indigenous, Black and other racialized women, as well as youth and members of the LGBTQ2S+ community. The project leverages the success of FCM’s Toward Parity in Municipal Politics (2018-2020) and Diverse Voices (2016-2018) initiatives.
CanWILL is implemented in partnership with FCM’s membership, provincial and territorial associations (PTAs), as well as key national partners and local stakeholders. It is funded by the federal government through Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE).
CanWILL aims to achieve four core objectives:
- Strengthening the capacity of women, particularly diverse women, to run for elected office
- Strengthening the capacity of municipal stakeholders to address gender-based violence and harassment
- Creating a more conducive context for women leaders to thrive in their leadership
- Mobilizing knowledge and sharing best practices across municipalities