Join us over the course of this year as we share an unflinching, honest and colourful account of the past century and the role women played at Edmonton City Hall. Be inspired for the future of women's leadership in our community and beyond.


December 12, 2021
Searching for Izena September Summit

The Searching For Izena Summit is a free community gathering to celebrate and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first woman (Izena Ross) being elected to Edmonton City Council in 1921. This historic event organized by YWCA Edmonton and Parity YEG will highlight the history of female leadership at Edmonton City Hall and also shine a bright light on the pressing work left to do to achieve lasting gender parity and increased diversity on council. Only 31 women have ever been elected to Edmonton City Council compared to 258 men. Just one woman has reached the mayor’s chair. Zero women of colour or Indigenous women have won at the municipal ballot box in Edmonton.

A highlight of the Searching For Izena Summit will be a live recording of the ninth and final instalment of the “Searching For Izena: ‘Unwomanly’ Stories of Female Leadership at Edmonton City Hall” podcast. Podcast co-hosts Stacey Brotzel and Kim-Ann Wilson will interview Searching For Izena Project co-chairs, YWCA Edmonton CEO Katherine O’Neill and Parity YEG Vice Chair Research Rajah Maggay, about the project’s findings and legacy. Other podcast guests include:

  • Jan Reimer; a former two-term Edmonton councillor and Edmonton’s first – and only – female mayor
  • Bev Esslinger; a current two-term Edmonton councillor
  • Nafisa Bowen; a former municipal candidate and one of only 21 women of colour to seek public office in Edmonton before 2021.

There will be a reception following the program. Guests will also be able to view a special exhibit of items and photos from numerous female Edmonton councillors who served over the past 100 years. While the event is free, please register early because seating is limited. The Searching For Summit has been made possible thanks to the generous support of: City of Edmonton, Edmonton Community Foundation, Edmonton Heritage Council, Edmonton Public Library, the Italian Centre, the Bridal Boutique and The Adams Agency.


June 10, 2021
A Conversation with Women in Politics
hosted by EPL

June 7, 2021
YYC Takeover
The History of Female Leadership at Calgary City Hall

May 17, 2021
The Evolution of Chamber Leadership

April 12, 2021
Ogama Eskwewak
The History and Experience of Indigenous Women Running for Office in Alberta

March 31, 2021
A Meal with Margaret
A Discussion on Youth Leadership, Tokenism and How to Get Involved

IWD event March 8, 2021
International Women’s Day
A Conversation on Women’s Leadership with Councillor Esslinger and members of the Women’s Advocacy Voice of Edmonton (WAVE)

February 1, 2021
The Power Lunch
100 Years of Female Leadership at Edmonton City Hall