NC takes part in gender equality forum in Chile


As gender equality is celebrated worldwide during International Women’s Day and throughout the month, Niagara College will partake in discussions on gender and social inclusion in Santiago, Chile on Friday, March 22.

Funded by the Government of Canada, the gender equality forum is part of Pacific Alliance (PA) Education for Employment Program, which strives to support social development and foster socioeconomic opportunities for men and women in the PA countries.

“Gender and social inclusion is a pressing issue globally,” said Justin Williams, PhD, NC’s global education and partnerships director. “We are pleased to be able to be part of this essential movement in many different parts of the world.”

The forum builds on the successes achieved by all partners so far and will bolster awareness about gender-related issues. The forum aims to create reflective spaces for discussion where participants can share best practices, lessons learned about overcoming barriers, and success stories about gender equality and social inclusion.

Niagara College is proud to be a part of the forum’s social development dialogue, working in solidarity with various educational institutions to integrate socially-inclusive practices at each partner institution. NC is known for its promotion and commitment to social development, assuming the lead technical role in the area of gender and social inclusion in three PA projects. NC’s global approach to social inclusion, informed by the College’s core values, and reflective of NC’s commitment to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is encapsulated within the Gender and Social Inclusion Framework.

The framework – a made-in-Niagara solution – enables our global partners to integrate principles of equity and inclusion and monitor their achievement within academic programming, learner services and community engagement.

NC’s participation in the forum enables two-way learning, allowing the College to refine its global approach to social inclusion in accordance with the sustainable development goals and provides a venue to share our knowledge with partners across Canada and the Americas.

NC’s international projects manager, Kyla Pennie, will help support the forum’s aim in Chile and contribute to the development of a sustainable and inclusive quality education.

“Kyla has done an exceptional job in supporting gender and social inclusion in past and current projects, her participation in Santiago will allow the NC team to continue to press this important work forward,” said Williams.

NC will be among 150 forum participants, which will include representatives of companies in the extractive sector, institutional alliances, government officials and people from the public sector. The forum will lend itself to NC’s work in Colombia as the College looks to support the design and implementation of an institutional Gender/ Social Inclusion Action Plan. The plan seeks to provide more agency for the success of all students, including women, Indigenous groups and students with disabilities.

Closer to home, students within the Honors Bachelor of Business Administration – International Commerce & Global Development program will be immersed in the global gender and social inclusion dialogue through new case studies and guest speakers from the College’s global education and partnerships practice.

“Gender equality and gender mainstream are the cornerstone of any development,” said Dawit Eshetu, PhD, associate dean of bachelor degrees and graduate programs in School of Business & Management Studies. “The issue is even more crucial in countries that have significant development challenges, gaps between gender in opportunities and services such as education and health. Students of global business and development at NC and elsewhere need to be cognizant of these challenges as emerging professionals as well global citizens.”

The College’s commitment to gender equity supports Global Affairs Canada’s policy of working collaboratively with its partners to create a better world without inequality for individuals around the globe. NC’s collaboration in global events such as the gender equality forum in Chile allows Niagara College to be better positioned to contribute to a more inclusive and sustainable education system and world.