Young Women Speak Up

The Winnipeg Foundation


Equitas’ Young Women Speak Up program at Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre.

Being judged. Being called down. Abuse – in all its forms. Exploitation. The young women gathered at Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre are thoughtful and articulate when they’re asked to name some of the issues they, and their peers, face.

The conversation is one of the first steps in a new program called Young Women Speak Up. It’s an initiative of Equitas – International Centre for Human Rights Education and its goal is to help women in Winnipeg, and across Canada, build self-esteem, overcome gender barriers, and support one another. Ma Mawi, which provides culturally relevant supports and programs to Winnipeg’s Indigenous community, is one of ten local partners.

The program has seen huge success in Montreal and is just getting going here. Youth leaders are being trained and participating agencies are building gender equality education into their programming. Next, about 60 young, female Winnipeggers will begin brainstorming ideas and launching community action projects that tackle the difficult issues they face.

In a community struggling with missing and murdered Indigenous women, where newcomer girls are often challenged to meet cultural expectations, and where so many are silenced by social pressures, Young Women Speak Up is empowering a population with huge energy, ability and potential for change.

This grant was drawn from the Moffat Family Fund, a Donor Advised Fund that aims to level the playing field for all Winnipeg youth, as well as Community Building Funds, contributed over our Foundation’s history by donors from all walks of life.