Young women get taste of po­lit­i­cal life

Daugh­ters of the Vote brings del­e­gates to Queen’s Park Tues­day

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - MOLLY HAYES mhayes@thes­pec.com 905-526-3214 | @mol­ly­hayes

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.

Hope-Ann Ace

HAND­OUT

Car­ley Roberto

Mar­ley Bob

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