The New Brunswick Women's Council wants to know what women in the province are thinking.
So, the group has launched Resonate, its first-ever public engagement initiative, where they're surveying women over the age of 19 in New Brunswick, to learn about their experiences, priorities, challenges and ideas through a variety of questions and sharing of personal stories.
So far, the council has surveyed 1,300 women and it wants to hear from another 200 before the end of November. The goal is to better serve and advocate on behalf of women in New Brunswick.
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"We've seen a lot of progress on women's equality issues in this province in the last few years, but there's always further to go," said Beth Lyons, executive director of the women's council.
"We'd really like to see a shift from New Brunswick being the last province to do something progressive, to being one of the leaders."
Another version of the survey that uses gender-inclusive language is also available for individuals belonging to gender minorities who do not identify as women.
In addition to the online survey, the council is using different approaches to gather as much information it can.
This includes focus groups in various parts of the province that target demographics of women less likely to complete an online survey. There was also an event held for organizations serving women or working to advance equality in the province, where they were asked to speak about challenges they face in their work to address gender-based issues.
'We're going to be responsible stewards of their stories. We're going to make sure that they are utilized to drive change in our province.' -Beth Lyons, New Brunswick Women's Council
Although Lyons wouldn't go into detail of what the findings were in the surveys so far, she said they're hoping to send out a report in early 2018 that will be submitted to government and made available to the public.
"Based on what women have told us, what are the policies that we need to look at in the province?" she said.
Their findings will allow the women's council to prompt potential legislative response, regulations to public relations or where to be funnelling funds to various nonprofit groups.
"We're going to take the fact that they've shared these stories with us so seriously," she said. "We're going to be responsible stewards of their stories, we're going to make sure that they are utilized to drive change in our province."
She said there needs to be more advocacy, public education and holding institutions to account to do better.
"There's still a lot of societal attitudes that we need to dig into and see how they're very much impacting women's day to day lives and how we can take personal and collective societal responsibility for changing those," she said.
Down the road, she's hoping to see more women in power, more access to affordable and high quality daycare, and needing less support for domestic and sexual violence, because rates are going down. But what supports that are there are "robust and make victims feel good about accessing these systems and institutions that are supposed to support them."