There are no such thing as men's and women's issues, but males and females have different approaches to problems, according to Premier Christy Clark.
Approximately 150 women gathered Monday afternoon for lunch with the premier at the Coast Inn of the North as part of a series of meetings the B.C. Liberal leader is having with women across the province.
"[Women] talk differently when it's just us in the room," Clark said. "We talk about the economy or we talk about jobs, but we come at it from a completely different perspective."
The luncheon, organized by Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond, was a way for residents to provide the premier with feedback, signal priority issues or hear answers to questions.
"What are our lofty, audacious goals for British Columbia? That's what we need to be talking about as a province, and I think women have a better grasp of that than just about anybody out there," said the premier.
During the event, Clark took the opportunity to reaffirm her support for the province's liquified natural gas projects and tied the potential revenue source to concerns brought up by Barbara Ward-Burkitt.
Executive director of the Prince George Native Friendship Centre, Ward-Burkitt cited a large percentage - more than 70 per cent - of children that were in government care were aboriginal children.
"There's a huge need, I believe in our province and certainly in the North, around resourcing that's going to help our parents to keep their families in their home, to keep their children in their home and to keep their families together," Ward-Burkitt said.
One of the reasons First Nations children are over-represented in the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development is because aboriginal families are over-represented in poverty statistics, according to Clark, who said part of the solution is addressing that poverty.
"The answer to that, to me, is including first nations in economic development, in a very real way," Clark said. "And I don't just mean there's a little bit of money that kicks in every time a permit is picked up. I mean meaningful investment and return in economic development activities that are happening."
The premier said B.C. could see up to a trillion dollars in direct benefits from the three LNG pipelines and processing plants.
Clark said she was prompted to have these women-only discussions after attending a series of meetings while on an Asian trade mission and realizing that she was "the only woman in any of those meetings who was not serving coffee."
"I realized I don't meet with that many women either when I'm here. And that struck me because we make up more than half of this population. And we need to be heard," she said.
Also knowing what it's like to be the only woman in a room, Central Interior Logging Association head MaryAnne Arcand asked Clark what to do about the dearth of women in high-profile business positions and in politics.
Clark, who noted she puts women in prominent cabinet positions on purpose, said the only way women are going to feature more in politics is for more women to run for office.
"I think more of us need to decide we want to take that risk," said Clark. "I recognize it's more complicated for us at times though, than it is for the other half of the population... we are that person that everyone depends on."