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From May 17 to 18, over 200 gender-equality champions, leaders, and key stakeholders from across the country gathered in person on the traditional territories of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Ta’an Kwäch’än Council (known colonially as Whitehorse, YK). Over the course of two days, they were joined by online delegates to engage complex problems as part of our second- ever gender equality summit: Equal Futures 2023.
Exploring the themes “People, Perspectives and Partnerships,” the summit centered on the diversity of experiences of remote, rural and Northern communities and highlighted the unique challenges they face for advancing gender equality and social justice. Equal futures for everyone, everywhere, can only be achieved through collaboration, collective action, and establishing communities to uphold and push our collective work forward.
Over the course of two days, we welcomed attendees from every province and territory, both in-person and online. Participants represented the depth and breadth of the work being undertaken to advance gender equality in communities across Canada and around the world, and were able to take in a variety of programming including practical workshops, high-level panels, in-depth peer-to-peer discussions and networking opportunities.
Highlights from the summit included the opening welcome and keynote addresses by Ta’an Kwäch’än Council Chief Amanda Leas, Minister Ien and Brandi Morin; panel discussions that focused on highlighting and amplifying the knowledge, expertise and challenges faced by communities in remote, rural and Northern communities in leadership, finance, food systems and gender based violence; sessions that unpacked intersectionality and equity while highlighting queer joy and leadership; and, finally, conversations and learning opportunities around reconciliation and what this process looks like when undertaken in a meaningful way.
New this year were the Curated Conversation sessions which created spaces for participants to delve into pertinent topic areas related to advancing gender equality (GE) and social justice. Sessions included SRHR and Menstrual Equity, GE and Climate Change, GE and Indigeneity, Youth Advocacy, and Global Citizenship and the Future of Feminism. These intimate and engaging conversation-style sessions created space for all participants to share the thoughts, challenges and solutions emerging from their work or personal experiences, and discover new areas of focus and partners to advance this work moving forward.
As the Equal Futures Network continues to grow, we look forward to building on the momentum of Equal Futures 2023 and creating spaces to push the needle forward for gender equality in Canada and around the world! We learned much from the second year of hosting this event, both in logistics and programming, and we are committed to continuing to learn from our community members and incorporating their valuable insights into our work.
The success of this summit could not have been achieved without the incredible support of the Equal Future Network advisory committee, Women and Gender Equality Canada (WaGE), our partners, network members and other important stakeholders who have all leaned in, showed up and supported this work – from inception all the way through to execution. We have immense gratitude for everyone who helped us along the way; without them, we wouldn’t be celebrating a successful second summit. We look forward to continuing to achieve a more gender-just world and advancing this work in partnership with all of you – Thank you!