“Leveraging Women’s Leadership for the 21st century: Changing the Game”

Earlier this month, Equal Voice celebrated its 10th anniversary and the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day by hosting the leadership summit, “Leveraging Women’s Leadership for the 21st century: Changing the Game.”

Luckily for those who were unable to make it to all of the summit (or those who perhaps wish to use some of the wonderful guidance and information provided by its participants in an essay), video coverage for both days’ events is available on the Equal Voice website at the following link: http://download.isiglobal.ca/equalvoice/2011-03-10-eng.html.

Over both days, I noticed a common area of focus was the nomination level of the electoral process. Many speakers mentioned that women are generally considered to be at a disadvantage in terms of nomination because of weaker network and fundraising bases. Someone that is definitely worth listening on this point is Jennifer Lawless, current director of the Women & Politics Institute, Associate Professor of Government at American University and co-author of It Still takes a Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office. Her speech can be found at the link above under the day of Friday, March 11, 2011 (about ten minutes into the footage). Ms.Lawless was a particularly engaging speaker with many revealing, and often hilarious, anecdotes about nomination and a women’s life on the campaign trail. According to Lawless, a reason for so few women being elected to Parliament is because they are less likely than men to  believe they are capable and qualified for the job. Thus they are not as likely to put their names forth for nomination. Women have to be asked to run, and asked several more times than men, before they even consider it. We need to have more confidence than this, ladies!  I highly recommend you check out Ms. Lawless’ presentation, if only for comic relief (as her argumentation would of course have to be verified through a closer look at the metholodology applied in her book, and not only her wonderful anecdotal evidence).

Hope to see you all at Equal Voice uOttawa’s AGM tomorrow. As the Vice President Internal for our club, I just wanted to share that I too am one of those women who didn’t think they were qualified for an elected position. I was asked several times by a friend to run before I finally gave in. The experience has been extremely rewarding, thanks to this friend and the wonderful ladies I’ve had the pleasure of working with this year. So come out and run for a position (mine is going to be available)!

Take care,

Melissa

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