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Amanda Kanbari, a co-ordinator at the YWCA NWT, will be at the United Nations in New York next week to take part in the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women. (Submitted by YWCA NWT) A Yellowknife resident hopes to shine a spotlight on issues affecting northern women and girls during a high-profile conference at the United Nations in New York next week.

Amanda Kanbari, a co-ordinator with the YWCA NWT, is part of the Canadian delegation attending the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) starting Monday.

The event runs until March 23 and focuses on challenges and opportunities around achieving gender equality for rural women and girls. Representatives from around the world are expected to attend.

"What better way to talk about that than talking about the North?" said Kanbari. "We’re working with rural women and girls every day in the N.W.T." Amanda Kanbari, at right, speaks at the YWCA NWT’s Passion to Purpose workshop on Feb. 17. (Submitted by YWCA NWT) In her role at the YWCA NWT, Kanbari works with the territory’s five family violence shelters, heads up a leadership council for young women and runs an empowerment program for young boys, called Dudes Club. Programs empower young girls and boys

Girls in the leadership council get together every month to talk about improvements they’d like to see in their community and how they can showcase "the culture and heritage of Northern women," said Kanbari.

Meanwhile, boys between the ages of nine and 14 who take part in Dudes Club are learning about feminism and community leadership.

"A couple of years ago we had one of the boys in the Dudes Club group basically catcalling a girl," said Kanbari. "And in that moment we had a delightful conversation around power, around control, around privilege and male privilege especially, and why catcalling women isn’t okay."

Kanbari said there needs to be more talk about gender equality, equity and ending violence against women in the North.

Next week’s event at the UN is a chance to showcase the work her organization is doing to achieve that, and to bring information back to the North about what’s working in other rural or remote areas of the world.

She added the women she works with — many of whom are Indigenous — are "strong" and "resilient."

"And I want to strongly bring that to [the] UN CSW that this is about intersection," she said. "I think I can bring a Northern perspective to it."

With files from Loren McGinnis and John Last

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