Hoping to change how women are represented in politics, 3 Windsor-Essex females head to Ottawa
Daughters of the Vote promotes women in politics
A few young women from Windsor-Essex want to see more females in the political sphere — so they're heading to Parliament Hill to have their say.
The three are participating in the "Daughters of the Vote" program. For four days, they will take their respective Member of Parliament's seat and have the chance to advocate for issues in their community.
The Ottawa summit is organized by Equal Voice Canada, an organization aiming to have more women elected to all levels of political office in Canada.
Lack of representation
Hannah Ruuth studies public management at the University of Guelph and said more can be done for women in politics.
Ruuth, from Tecumseh, Ont., became interested in politics during time spent volunteering at the John McGivney Children's Centre.
"I want to see governments that reflect what our societies look like," said Ruuth. "Having one woman doesn't reflect half of our population."
Tania Jobin is the only female sitting on Tecumseh's town council.
A shift in representation
Kaitlyn Gee is taking a global politics course at Carleton University, but she became interested in politics when she helped found the Mayor's Youth Advisory Committee in Leamington when she was in high school.
Gee also agrees that female representation is lacking on all levels of government and said that political involvement goes beyond simply being elected.
"I think often when we talk about politics that means being elected to political office," said Gee. "And while that's extremely important, I also think politics can be conducted in variety of other ways and that means being engaged in our local communities."
Gee adds that representation is changing, citing the election of Hilda MacDonald as the first female mayor in Leamington since Grace McFarland was elected in 1951.
Excited to be joining 338 young women from across 🇨🇦 representing their hometowns at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DaughtersOfTheVote?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DaughtersOfTheVote</a> on Parliament Hill next week! For me, that’s right here in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EssexCounty?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#EssexCounty</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/KingsvilleOnt?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KingsvilleOnt</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/TownofLakeshore?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TownofLakeshore</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/TownofLaSalle?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TownofLaSalle</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Aburg_TownHall?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Aburg_TownHall</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/EssexON?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@EssexON</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/TweetLeamington?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TweetLeamington</a> <a href="https://t.co/WQF5KqU9c2">pic.twitter.com/WQF5KqU9c2</a>—@kaitlynm_gee
Iman Berry is a grade 12 student and a student trustee for the Greater Essex County District School Board. Her passion for politics began with extracurricular activities and participation in community events.
Berry says diversity in government is crucial in making sure concerns are being heard.
"The reason I belive in diversity so much is because, in the House of Commons, these are people who are making decisions for the future of Canada and they are representing what Canada looks like," said Berry.
"Canada is a very, very diverse country — so having more diversity within politics is very important because they are the representatives of the people."
This is the second year for the summit, held April 1-4 in Ottawa.