Vision Statement

It is NWAC’s vision that Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people have the right to improve their economic conditions through employment, entrepreneurship, education and training.

Eagle Costume on Stage

Summary

Barriers to employment for Indigenous women are numerous. For example, in the 2016 report by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, it was found that 69% of Indigenous owned businesses were owned by Indigenous women. However, the same report also found that only 31% of funding went to Indigenous women owned businesses.1

Another barrier to employment is not having enough education. In the Aboriginal Peoples Survey 2017, 51% of the Indigenous women compared to 40% of men reported not having sufficient education or training to find work.2 This is consistent with overall findings that Aboriginal people with a University degree reported 7% unemployment, while those with a high school diploma reported a 16% unemployment rate.3 Those with less than a high school diploma reported a 25% unemployment rate.4

One reason for the lower level of education for Indigenous women is Indigenous women are more likely to be the head of single – parent families than non-Indigenous women. In 2016, Statistics Canada reported that 28.7% of Indigenous children aged 0 to 4 who live with one parent in a lone parent census family, live with a female lone parent compared to 5.6% of Indigenous children age 0-4 who live with a male lone parent.5

 

Consequently, as the primary care givers and responsible for transmitting language, cultural teachings and knowledge to a new generation, Indigenous women have less time to dedicate to their own education.

As the Government of Canada stated on page 258 of its 2018 Budget, Equality and Growth for a Strong Middle Class:

            “Indigenous women are particularly vulnerable as they continue to be less likely to be part of the paid workforce.”6

Therefore, the government must apply a culturally relevant gender based lens to its funding to ensure better access to training and education programs which will improve the participation of Indigenous women in the labour market.

 

Recommendations

1. The Government of Canada commit to increase funding for training and education programs that will significantly improve the participation of Indigenous women in the labor market. 

2. The Government of Canada commit to increase funding to organizations led by Indigenous women. These organizations will deliver programs and services that will:

(1) Assist Indigenous women with Education and Training so Indigenous women will be able to secure employment. 
 
(2) Deliver flexible and innovative education and training programs that take into consideration the urban, rural, Northern and isolated communities which Indigenous women live.

  1. The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business “ Promise and Prosperity, the Aboriginal Business Survey” <https://www.ccab.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/CCAB-PP-Report-V2-SQ-Pages.pdf>.
  2. Statistics Canada “Aboriginal Peoples Survey, 2017 Labour Market Experiences of First Nations people living off reserve: Key findings from the 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey” < https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/89-653-x/89-653-x2018003-eng.htm >.
  3. Statistics Canada “Aboriginal Peoples Survey, 2017 Labour Market Experiences of First Nations people living off reserve: Key findings from the 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey” < https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/89-653-x/89-653-x2018003-eng.htm >.
  4. Statistics Canada “Aboriginal Peoples Survey, 2017 Labour Market Experiences of First Nations people living off reserve: Key findings from the 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey” < https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/89-653-x/89-653-x2018003-eng.htm >.
  5. Statistics Canada “Census in Brief, Diverse family characteristics of Aboriginal children aged 0 to 4” < https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/as-sa/98-200-x/2016020/98-200-x2016020-eng.cfm
  6. Government of Canada “Budget 2018: Equality and Growth for a Strong Middle Class” <https://www.budget.gc.ca/2018/docs/plan/budget-2018-en.pdf>.