Caroline Cochrane on Women in Politics, Transparency in Leadership & Affordable Housing

Caroline CochraneFostering Indigenous women leaders and building our participation in politics, and policymaking is an absolute must if we are to prosper in Canada. “The United Nations says that a critical mass of at least 30% women is needed before legislatures produce public policy representing women’s concerns and before political institutions begin to change the way they do business.” ( Caroline Cochrane, MLA for the Range Lake Riding and passionate advocate for women in politics holds the following portfolios for the Government of the Northwest Territories: Minister of Municipal and Community AffairsMinister Responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, & Minister Responsible for Addressing Homelessness.

Her previous work for 20 years in the non-profit sector, her role as a Metis woman, mother, daughter, and troubled youth has all contributed to her unique perspective as a politician and advocate for transparency in leadership.

On today’s episode Caroline shares her motivation for entering politics, barriers for women in politics, her views on transparency in government, her plan for addressing homelessness and affordable housing, and the most rewarding part of her job.

“The biggest barrier for women is ourselves. Self-esteem is huge. We’ve been socialized throughout our life as women to be humble, to not put forward our strengths – if we look too strong it’s seen as aggressive. We have a lot of barriers that society has put on us, and that’s our biggest enemy.” Caroline Cochrane on women entering politics

Listen to this episode

Today on the Women Warriors Podcast

  • Her motivation for entering politics (4:25)
  • Her support system during campaigning (5:42)
  • How she felt winning the Range Lake riding in a close race (6:41)
  • Bypassing regular MLA and being appointed as a Minister (7:50)
  • Her toughest transition from non-profit to government (8:53)
  • How entering politics affected her personal relationships (9:38)
  • Her work with Daughters of the Vote (10:38)
  • Barriers for women in small communities entering politics (11:52)
  • She explains the consensus government in the Legislative Assembly (13:11)
  • Promoting transparency in leadership and government (14:37)
  • Housing survey in the NWT to inform policy & program (15:40)
  • How her perspective as CEO for Centre of Northern Families has equipped her to address the portfolios of homelessness & housing (16:54)
  • Her immediate plans to deal with housing in NWT (17:56)
  • The most rewarding part of her job (20:22)
  • Her commitment to NWT Women in Leadership workshops (21:49)
  • The woman she wants to spend the day with (22:51)
  • Her message for women thinking of entering the political realm (24:27)

Selected Links from this Episode

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Connect with Caroline Cochrane

Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories


Government of the NWT, Newsroom, Delivered on March 8, 2017, Caroline Cochrane: Increasing Women’s Participation in Politics.

CBC North, June 07, 2016, N.W.T. minister challenges Yellowknife MLAs on homelessness solutions