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It is a pleasure to be here today representing the Government of the Northwest Territories and as the new Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Infrastructure and WSCC.
I am especially pleased to be here to celebrate the Women in Mining, NWT Chapter launch. A timely one, given our recent territorial elections.
The new territorial government – who I am representing today - is the reflection of an incredible evolution in our territory.
With a record number of women elected, we’re now an example to the rest of Canada, as we have the highest proportion of women legislators in our country – including a majority of women represented on Cabinet and Premier Cochrane being the only female Premier in Canada.
As a female engineer who has spent most of my career in a traditionally male environment, this is a point of personal pride and satisfaction. For the first time in a long time, I can tell you it’s nice not to be outnumbered on my jobsite.
The absence of female leadership and political role models was a big part of why I decided to run for office.
Even before I was in politics, I recognized the need to have role models for young women today. It has always been a passion. It is the reason that I have been an active promotor and supporter of programs like STEM and GEMI – and of course Women in Mining.
I’m thrilled – that among my first official duties as a Cabinet Member, I’m here today to celebrate and support the launching of an NWT Chapter of Women in Mining.
There is a mantra in the STEM program that says: You can’t be what you can’t see.
You can’t expect young girls to envision themselves working in male dominated fields if they don’t have the example and mentors to look up to, to emulate and follow.
That’s what today’s event is all about.
Take a look around – many of the individuals here today are leaders in our territory’s foremost and largest industry. To emphasize the obvious, they are also women.
Most importantly, they are role models who will spark the interest, instill the confidence, and demonstrate to young girls across North that if they want to work in mining – they have that opportunity.
Our territory is rich in resource potential, but none of it is as great as the potential that exists for young women to join our mineral and exploration sector – and to enrich it with their talents, minds, skills and vision.
As Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, I’ll be looking at ways to encourage economic development and diversification across our economy – and at every turn to ensure our youth understand that their participation and leadership is welcomed and needed – across all sectors.
I’d like to congratulate everyone involved in making this happen and thank you for allowing me to speak to you all this afternoon.