Women in a Transitioning Canadian Resource Town

Colleen M. McLeod, Alice J. Hovorka


This paper builds on previous studies of women’s role in and experiences of natural resource-dependent communities in Canada, which demonstrate that women have limited opportunities and negative experiences in these locales. It investigates women’s spaces of employment and experiences of everyday life in High Level, Alberta. Preliminary insights reveal that formal employment opportunities for women are increasing in both number and variety, and women’s experiences in this community are overwhelmingly positive. Further, women are fostering positive connections to place through their multiple roles in employment, personal, and civic realms. It is noted that such circumstances are enveloped within a traditional gender division of labour such that the work spaces opening up are largely contained within the tertiary sector and female-dominated jobs. As such, economic transition alone in Canadian resource towns is not enough to address issues of gender inequity.

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The Journal of Rural and Community Development is supported by SSHRC.