July 13, 2013 4:04 pm
Updated: June 3, 2015 7:01 pm

Equitas program aims to empower young women

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WATCH ABOVE: When it comes to giving a voice to women in society, members of Girls Group at Dawson Community Centre think of the word empowerment. Rachel Lau has the details.

MONTREAL – When it comes to giving a voice to women in society, the girls at Dawson Community Centre think of the word ’empowerment’.

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“You have to accept other people,” said Shannon Burress-Kennedy, a member of Girls Group at Dawson Community Centre. “So it’s working together to understand everybody’s differences and many similarities.”

This is exactly what Ruth Morrison and her team at Equitas had in mind when they founded the Young Women, Young Leaders program.

“Women themselves will be able to go out into the community, look at where women are participating in the civic, political or community sphere, where they are not participating, what are the barriers of participation for women in their community and then be able to put together an amazing community project,” she said.

Programs like these give girls the skills they need to have confidence in themselves. But more than that, it pushes them to discuss the issues that bother them in their daily lives, as well as the barriers that are put up against them.

As Equitas sees it, it’s up to youth to engage, coach and support the next generation.

The goal of the program is to encourage girls to create empowering projects, which can be anything from movies to songs to games.

It’s up to the young women to lead.

“When you have the support of your sisters, it’s ground breaking, it’s inspiring and it can help us move forward on a positive note,” said Darley Polony, Girls Group leader.

And start up a dialogue.

“Girls are underestimated,” said Samantha Dobson, a member of Girls Group. “They’re told they can’t do certain things.”

“For girls, empowerment is to go out there and actually try and not to just be like I can’t do it,” agreed Kelsey Jean Vardon.

Equitas is launching Young Women, Young Leaders this September.

With the hope of encouraging and reminding young women to assert their place in society.

“All young people, whether they’re young men or young women should have an incredible amount to give to the community and to participate,” said Morrison. “They are incredible agents of change.”

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