Young women get taste of political life
Daughters of the Vote brings delegates to Queen’s Park Tuesday
A handful of Hamilton young women are getting a taste of political life at Queen’s Park Tuesday, as part of an event meant to encourage more women to run for office.
The Daughters of the Vote summit will include meetings with MPPs and all three provincial party leaders, as well as a panel discussion — including Halton MPP Indira Naidoo-Harris, Kitchener MPP Catherine Fife, and Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod — on the importance of getting more women in politics.
Carley Roberto, from Stoney Creek, was one of six Hamilton-area women to be selected. The 22year-old has long been interested in politics.
But the George Brown College student acknowledges the maledominated sphere is an intimidating one.
“Even just the derogatory comments that people make,” she says, giving the example of the threats recently hurled at MP Iqra Khalid.
But she believes events like these make a difference — which is why she leapt at the opportunity to participate when she saw a call for applications on social media.
“I’m so excited to learn about some of the other delegates that have been selected. Just learning from other people, about where they’ve come from and how their experiences have been,” she says. “I’m looking forward to learning about each other and how we can hopefully make history.”
Hope-Ann Ace agrees. The 19year-old Ancaster woman will also be representing the city at Tuesday’s summit. As a young Aboriginal woman, she says she is keenly aware of the need for more proportional representation in politics.
“It just gives every single woman a little bit of inspiration — you know what, I can do that,” she says. As someone who has long been passionate about human rights, she leapt at the opportunity to take part in such a “historic” event.
“I think it’s amazing to participate in something that represents equality and change,” she says.
At every level in Canadian politics, women are drastically underrepresented. In the House of Commons, women account for just over a quarter of the politicians currently elected.
Tuesday’s event is part of “a very concerted effort” to recruit more women into politics, explains Nicole Foster, the national director-atlarge for Equal Voice, the organization behind the summit.
Especially given the “caustic” recent election of President Donald Trump in the U.S., Nicole Foster, the national director-at-large for Equal Voice, argues that gender is clearly a huge factor in politics.
Politics — and who’s in charge — really do matter.
“We are looking for potential agents of change,” Foster says of the impressive and unique crop of participants they selected. There were 121 future leaders (all between the ages of 18 and 23) selected for the program in total.
In addition to Tuesday’s trip to Queen’s Park, the young women will also head to Ottawa next month as part of a group of 338 women — one for each riding in Canada — marking International Women’s Day at Parliament.
When Foster herself was a teenager, she was selected to participate in a youth forum with the federal government.
“That was a life-changing experience for me … I would never have joined a political party had I not done that,” she says, explaining her enthusiasm for the program.
“I know it will be life-changing for them [as well].”
HAMILTON-AREA DELEGATES: Hope-Ann Ace, Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas A third-year Carleton University student, Ace is double majoring in law and human rights. As an Aboriginal woman, she is passionate about Indigenous issues. She is involved in local community programs, and hopes to inspire others to take action and create justice within her community. Azra Alagic, Brantford-Brant Alagic is completing her political science studies at McMaster University. She is passionate about human rights, and volunteers her time working with Syrian refugees in her community. She has been involved with Mac’s Social Sciences Society, UNICEF, the Golden Key Society, YMCA Settlement Services, the Canadian Cancer Society and Brantford International Villages.
Marley Bob, Hamilton Mountain A second-year Mohawk College student in the general arts and sciences program, Bob hopes to become a pediatric occupational therapist. As a First Nations woman from the Ochapowace Cree Nation, she aspires to make her community energy efficient and is passionate about the environment and Indigenous issues.
Emma Fisher-Cobb, Burlington Fisher-Cobb is an environment and business student at the University of Waterloo. After graduation, she will attend Cape Breton University to study technical engineering. She is passionate about sustainability and environmental education. As a Guider and Scout she has spent much of her time sharing those passions with youth.
Carley Roberto, Hamilton East-Stoney Creek Roberto, a recent Wilfrid Laurier University graduate, is pursuing postgraduate studies in human resources at George Brown College. She is passionate about politics and gender studies, and history.
Carol-Jean Trudell, Flamborough-Glanbrook Trudell is a second-year legal studies student at University of Waterloo. She is passionate about law, history, politics and public policy.