Nunatsiavut Government: International Women’s Day message
March 8, 2021
Nunatsiavut President Johannes Lampe today issued the following statement in recognition of International Women’s Day during a virtual sitting of the Nunatsiavut Assembly:
On this International Women’s Day, it is important to acknowledge the tremendous role Labrador Inuit women play in our society and in our government.
Labrador Inuit women have always played a critical role in decision-making, whether at the political or community level and within family structures. The responsibilities of Inuit women within our culture are equally as important as those of men. That level of respect, I believe, is the reason why, traditionally, so many of our women continue to become actively involved in public life.
Although still outnumbered by their male counterparts, women, at least in Nunatsiavut, are having an impact on our political landscape. Labrador Inuit women are adding new voices to many important issues such as job creation and social and economic growth.
As a point of interest, more and more Labrador Inuit women are pursuing post-secondary educations. Many of these women, because of their higher levels of education and training, will eventually find their way into leadership roles and, quite probably, the political world.
It is important that we encourage, through our statements and actions, more women to take on leadership roles and to provide opportunities that will foster a competitive environment that promotes and supports equality in politics.
In an effort to provide gender equality in the Nunatsiavut Government election process, reasonable steps must be taken by the President to ensure female candidates are nominated in each of our constituencies. In other words, if there are no female candidates in a constituency, I have the ability to approach individuals and ask them if they would consider putting their names on the ballot.
Those of us in elected positions, as I see it, have a responsibility to reach out to others in leadership roles in advocating for more female candidates to offer themselves up for election. The reality is that women still face challenges that men do not, and raising awareness and promoting gender equality in politics is critical.
Inuit women have always been the movers and shakers in their communities. They have been the ties that have bound our social affairs and maintained our cultural values, which is probably why many of our women are more likely to be involved in the educational, social and health sectors.
Over the past several years the Nunatsiavut Government has partnered with various universities for the delivery of various degree programs, including nursing, education, social work as a second degree, as well as the regular social work degree. In all programs, all of the students were women, and many will become future leaders.
In conclusion, Labrador Inuit women have come a long way in a relatively short time, demonstrating the willingness and ability to break down barriers and take on even greater responsibilities aside from our traditional roles within our communities. While there is still a ways to go before we achieve gender equality in politics, I do believe we are on the right track.