Some people in Yellowknife say cutting two female-dominated programs at Aurora College would not only undermine the college’s connection to Indigenous culture and communities, but it would also be doing a disservice to many women in the N.W.T.
In February, the territorial government said it was cutting funding to Aurora College by $1.9 million, leading the college’s board of governors to suggest eliminating the teacher and social work programs.
The government has since agreed to review the programs (to be completed by fall 2017) before cutting funding.
Supporters of the programs are now pointing out that cuts will affect one sex more than the other.
“We believe that these proposed cuts unfairly target women,” said Dawn McInnes, a board member for the Association of Social Workers in Northern Canada.
“Women play many critical roles as caregivers to their children, to their families, to extended families. They may have to work in addition to their studies, they may have leadership roles in their communities.
“So for some women coming into the program, particularly women coming from our Northern communities, the Aurora College Social Work Program may be the only higher education opportunity they have.”
Teacher and social work programs are dominated by women across the country. The latest numbers from Statistics Canada say 67 per cent of students in social work programs are women, while 76 per cent of people in education programs are women.
‘A completely wrong move’
Hermina Joldersma, a retired professor and administrator at the University of Calgary who’s lived in Yellowknife for the past five years, says removing programs dominated by women…
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