Established in 1990, the Yellowknife Women’s Society (YKWS) functions as an important, grassroots community-based charitable organization located in the capital city of the Northwest Territories.
The Yellowknife Women’s Society owns and operates multiple programs and services in the city, which have expanded significantly over the last decade. YKWS is governed by a Board of Directors.
The goal of the YKWS is to support and assist women, their families and other vulnerable individuals in empowering themselves to develop their goals, achieve wellness, enjoy equality, and be recognized for the contributions they make to the community.
Where we are located
The YKWS acknowledges we are located in Chief Drygeese territory. From time immemorial, it has been the traditional land of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. We respect the histories, languages, and cultures of all Indigenous Peoples including the North Slave Métis, and all First Nations, Métis, and Inuit whose presence continues to enrich our vibrant community.
Beginning in the 1960s, and over a span of approximately twenty years, various groups of women in Yellowknife spoke longingly of the need to establish a drop-in centre where local women could gather, seek support, share ideas, have fun and work together on projects of mutual interest. In 1988, a decision to actively pursue the establishment of a place where women could meet, share information, network and carry out projects was sparked by International Women's Day celebrations.
The Yellowknife Women's Society was formally incorporated as a non-profit society in January of 1990.
For decades, the Yellowknife Women’s Society, the Centre for Northern Families, and the Yellowknife Women’s Centre were names used interchangeably to refer to both the organization and the building where programs and services were offered. As both community need and organizational capacity grew the Centre for Northern Families was moved to a new location, continuing to house a daycare and family support programs.
The existing building on Franklin Avenue was renamed the Yellowknife Women’s Centre, which houses an emergency shelter and 23 single-room occupancy rental units for women. YKWS began operating Housing First in 2016, the Street Outreach Van in 2017, and Common Ground in 2017. The most recent addition to YKWS is Spruce Bough, a supported living and managed alcohol program.