The City for All Women Initiative: Promoting Intersectionality in Local Governance

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The City for All Women Initiative (CAWI) began in 2004, as a new phase (since 1989) of action research efforts to promote gender inclusive governance practices in the City of Ottawa. Two earlier phases addressed the distinctiveness of women’s claims in relation to men, the first involving a focus on public safety and the second addressing issues of equality of access to municipal services. This latter effort revealed the extent to which gender inclusive efforts in the City of Ottawa were piecemeal, partial and unresponsive to differences among women, particularly minority women, and these insights motivated the current third phase on changing municipal structures to address, accommodate and respond to the diverse perspectives of minority women. CAWI began by building local networks and drawing upon the expertise of diverse minority women in increasingly complex ways. A community development approach meant it was possible to respond innovatively as new opportunities and insights arose. The result was two paths of engagement. One involved capacity building efforts in the form of a nine month civic participation training program to provide minority women with knowledge and tools to lobby the City of Ottawa, both in their own communities and in solidarity with broader networks. The second involved the establishment of community-municipal partnerships to develop training and implementation tools such as a gender equality guide to influence management practices and orientations throughout the corporation.


Keywords: Local Governance, Intersectionality, Minority Women, Inclusion, Action Research
Stream: Identity and Belonging; the Politics of Diversity; Globalisation
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , Engaging in Deep Democracy for Diverse Women in Ottawa, Engaging in,


Dr. Fran Klodawsky

Associate Professor, Steering Committee of The City for All Women Initiative, Carleton University
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Dr. Caroline Andrew

Professor, University of Ottawa, Steering Committee of City for All Women Initiative, University of Ottawa
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Suzanne Doerge

Coordinator, City for All Women Initiative
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Ref: D08P0099