By Emma Morrison
Standing at 5 feet tall, Robyn Schaapman is no stranger to being overlooked. Schaapman is one of the many women making a huge difference in her community with small steps.
Schaapman is involved with two major programs that are improving womens opportunities: Young Women in Trades and Technology (YWITT) and Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF). Both programs open opportunities for women and youth in Canada.
YWITT is a part of Careers Next Generation Canada. The CNGC aims to help youth find rewarding careers in the trades. They help them explore and become aware of opportunities in their communities. They also connect potential employers with youth through the Registered Apprentice Program (RAP).
YWITT also holds a summer camp every year for young girls to get involved with trades. Women from each trade, like Schaapman, showcase what it is like to be anything from an electrician to an engineer. Schaapman also participates in Skills Canada by setting up a booth showcasing a career as an electrician.
“I just loved teaching kids about the trades. To see their faces light up when they have made something with their hands and they get to keep it. It’s like nothing else,” said Schaapman.
LEAF has been around since 1985 and has intervened in dozens of equality cases in Canada. Their main purpose is to educate women, young girls and the public about substantive equality rights. LEAF intervenes in cases where women don’t have a voice or are seen as unequal.
Schaapman helps fundraise money for lawyers to work for LEAF. She got involved with LEAF after the Bradley Barton Case verdict.
“People during the trial didn’t see [the victim] as a human because she was selling her body for sex and that is what LEAF is for,” Schaapman explained.
“Where Barton has been let free after murdering an Albertian woman. He was acquitted, and I just found that super upsetting. That something like this was happening in my neighborhood.”
Schaapman continues to work hard with the programs to help youth and women to better their future and make their voices heard.