August 8, 2019
(Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, Ont.) -- Whereas women’s knowledge and skill sets continue to be underutilized and underrepresented in Canada’s post-secondary sector, First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI) reports that well more than half of its workforce is female.
Sixty-four per cent of the institute’s overall employees are comprised of women, with 76 per cent of the leadership and management team being female and 55 per cent of faculty being women. At nearly 300 learners annually, FNTI’s student body is 80 per cent female. Even its First Peoples’ Aviation Technology Flight program -- a field in which women represent less than five per cent of commercial pilots – historically reports having more than 35 per cent female students.
“Women have always played a central role in Indigenous societies, from familial roles and governance to spiritual ceremonies,” said FNTI president Suzanne Brant. “At FNTI, it is natural for women to have strong representation within our workforce, which reflects how we have always viewed gender equality and autonomy for our Peoples. It has been the backbone of our persistence, resilience and survival.”
According to the Gender Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Business/Higher Education Perspectives report by Conference Board of Canada, women obtain 56 per cent of Canada’s bachelor’s degrees, 51 per cent of master’s degrees and make up 58 per cent of college graduates.
Brant says that gender balance is particularly important to FNTI’s program mix, which predominantly focuses in health, humanities, social sciences and justice because these graduates will be the ones leading positive social change and harnessing community capacities for future generations.
“We work hard to ensure that our learners see themselves and their realities validated in every aspect of the FNTI curricula, program delivery and support services,” said Brant. “Gender and cultural diversity within all levels of the organization, including front-line, academic and senior-decision making roles, is of utmost importance in our hiring and professional development practices and appropriately accounted for in wages and pay equity.”
FNTI serves 160 of 613 First Nations communities across Canada, and 101 of 126 in Ontario. Students range from 18 to 71 years of age and are from Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Inuit, Métis and Mi’kmaq descent.
The First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI) is an Indigenous-owned and governed postsecondary institute founded in programming rooted in Indigegogy and Indigenous ways of knowing. FNTI is a registered charitable organization, accredited by the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC,) and a member of Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan). FNTI has over 3,000 graduates with certificate, diploma and degree credentials issued in partnership with recognized Ontario colleges and universities and will begin the delivery standalone bachelor’s degrees in January 2020 in accordance with the Indigenous Institute Act, 2017.
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