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NEWS | March 8, 2021

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Learning from women leaders

To mark International Women’s Day, we want to introduce you to some amazing women we have the pleasure of working with in Tunisia, South Africa and Ukraine. Their determination, vision and business acumen make them the dynamic leaders of today and tomorrow.

Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy states: In politics, women representatives are catalysts of change. The leadership of women sparks reforms that benefit everyone: health and sanitation services, gender equality laws, parental leave and elimination of sexual and gender-based violence.

At FCM, we believe this wholeheartedly. Our international programs are designed to reach out to women and ensure that their circumstances, needs and aspirations guide our interactions. In collaboration with local partners, this inclusive approach aims to support entire communities and create opportunities for those who have been overlooked or underserved in the past.

We hope you enjoy these profiles and invite you to celebrate International Women’s Day - every day!


Tunisia: Leading by training

On March 8, 2020, the Network of Tunisian Elected Women was born. Happy one-year anniversary! Supported by FCM's Program for Inclusive Municipal Leadership (PIML), the Network is a space for sharing, training, support and advocacy for Tunisian elected officials. The Network has been very active over the past 12 months. It set up thematic working groups to better meet the needs of members, who participated in awareness-raising activities on violence against women in general, and against women in politics in particular.

Find out more about our work in Tunisia

South Africa: Leading by connecting

Sinoxolo Shoco is an agriculture practitioner in Ngqushwa, South Africa. As a coordinator in FCM’s Building Inclusive and Green Municipalities (BIGM) program, part of her job is to develop strong relationships with local businesses, and to offer support services that reach the more vulnerable members of her community.

She assists people who are new to farming with technical advice, such as identifying land that is suitable for development, helping with business plans, sharing crop production methods and demonstrating animal health techniques to promote sustainable development.

Sinoxolo’s proactive approach to network building is key to many of her community’s successful business ventures.

Find out more about our work in South Africa

Ukraine: Leading by empowering

The Partnership for Local Economic Development and Democratic Governance (PLEDDG) project in Ukraine, now completing its 6th and final year, has been supporting initiatives that give Ukrainian women a greater voice and space in areas such as entrepreneurship and local leadership.

Whether businesses are offering unique products and services, (a medieval dining experience in Vinnytsia, a shared workspace that offers career training and childcare in Zaphorizhia), or fostering increased women’s involvement in local decision-making, the common denominator has been women’s empowerment.

We salute Canadian municipal leaders, such as Councillor Bev Esslinger (Edmonton, AB), Councillor Randy Goulden (Yorkton, SK) and the Late Pam McConnell (Toronto, ON) who have contributed to the project by sharing their knowledge, insights, and experiences, serving as role models for Ukrainian women.

At PLEDDG’s recent Final Conference, FCM CEO Carole Saab, commended Ukrainian and Canadian partners for promoting principles of good governance, particularly the advancement of political and economic women leaders.

Find out more about our work in Ukraine

International Spotlight: UCLG promotes feminism

In 2020, UN Women launched the “Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future” campaign that included a focus on the feminist movement and leadership. The Government of Canada and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) were named as partners in leading on this initiative.

Last month, FCM members Bev Esslinger (Edmonton, AB) and Berry Vrbanovic (Kitchener, ON) attended UCLG’s Annual Retreat, where the umbrella organization shared its contribution to the Generation Equality campaign. Later this year, UCLG will promote the unique strength of feminism in local and regional governments and the experiences of local leaders, including at the Commission of the Status on Women, and the Generation Equality Forums in Mexico City and Paris.

Find out more about UN Women’s support for gender equality

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     FCM’s international programs are funded by Global Affairs Canada.

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