P.E.I.'s Famous Five inspire a future generation
'You just see all these young ladies sitting there in power for the day and it's really cool'
It was a sight to be seen in the legislative assembly of Prince Edward Island — every one of the 27 MLA's seats was filled with a young woman representing their electoral district.
"You just see all these young ladies sitting there in power for the day and it's really cool," said Lily Campbell, a Grade 10 student representing Charlottetown-Lewis Point.
It was all part of an International Day of the Girl event on Thursday. The United Nation's theme this year was With Her: A Skilled GirlForce.
The students began the day listening to a panel discussion from the five women who ruled P.E.I. politics 25 years ago, known as the Famous Five.
"I hope the message is girls can do whatever they set their mind to and everybody can be like, if they decide they want to do it, they can and just to never give up and keep going," Campbell said.
"It is so inspirational to be here today," said Charlize Sahely, a Grade 11 student representing Charlottetown-Brighton.
"They are talking about every field aspect, they are talking about law, medicine, finances ... any field, you can be in power, it doesn't just have to be politics."
"What we have done is brought together the history with the future," said Paula Biggar, P.E.I.'s minister of transportation, infrastructure and energy — as well as the minister responsible for the status of women.
"Within other professions, there are some inroads happening for sure but within our legislative assembly we still have a long way to go."
More women in P.E.I. politics
Currently there are only five women elected to the legislature out of a possible 27 seats. Biggar said she is working at pushing the parties to be more inclusive during the nomination process.
She also said it was important to show the young women how things had been different in 1993 — when the top five political roles in the province were filled by women.
"Today is not necessarily about women in politics but it is for these young women to see themselves in a role that they can have a say in our communities and in our province and to give them a voice to be able to say, I can speak up," said Biggar.
"It is cool to meet people that were in power and so important 25 years ago and they are still active and involved today," Campbell said.
"All these girls around me are really smart," Sahely said. "I know all of them can do it and I think a lot of them are interested in politics so hopefully we will see them here in 10 years."
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With files from Sarah Keaveny-Vos