Near the Floe Edge: Inuit Women’s Roles in the Mixed Economy

For decades, the lives of First Nations, Métis and Inuit women have been surrounded with silence. While northern research is rapidly expanding at the turn of this century, very little attention is been paid to northern women’s roles. Recognizing the growing gap of knowledge regarding Inuit women and their activities, the primary aim of this project is to understand Inuit women’s roles within the transformed socioeconomic environment of Nunavut. The analysis demonstrates that transformation in gender roles in contemporary Nunavut is highly connected to ongoing demographic and economic transformations, and therefore offers a significant insight on how present and anticipated socioeconomic transformations may affect Inuit economy and society. Key findings echo research in other Arctic regions and suggest that the ongoing changes in the north are producing very different gendered responses.

As this research is concerned with making Inuit women’s work and roles more visible within the northern economy, data were gathered using a mixed methods approach that combines both qualitative and quantitative information. The research took place in Clyde River, Nunavut, and involved the participation of 29 women and their families. The sharing of knowledge, information and stories was instrumental to develop a comprehensive account of Inuit women’s contributions in subsistence, domestic and wage work.

Project leads: 
Magalie Quintal-Marineau – McGill University