St. John’s, NL – As preparations for Newfoundland and Labrador’s provincial election intensifies, Equal Voice, a national multi-partisan dedicated to electing more women to all levels of government in Canada, wants to ensure young women get involved.
As the only province in the country with three female leaders at the helm, Equal Voice is launching a unique candidate shadowing program to ensure young women have the chance to see that they too can be part of the political process.
Through this program, female provincial candidates from all of the province’s major political parties will be invited to participate, by enabling a young woman from their respective communities to shadow candidates for ten hours in the last two weeks of the campaign. Shadowing can include accompanying the candidate on the doorstep, helping out at the campaign office, participating in strategy meetings (where appropriate), among other opportunities.
“Newfoundland and Labrador has a unique opportunity to show young women how exciting and dynamic politics can be,” says Sheilagh O’Leary, a member of the local Equal Voice chapter.
Raylene Lang-Dion, who originates from St. John’s and is now chair of Ottawa’s Equal Voice chapter adds: “Even though fewer women than men are running in this election, the fact that each party leader is female may serve as a significant motivator for young women to get politically involved.”
Equal Voice is aiming to have at least five female candidates participate from each party who represent both urban and rural areas. Young women from participating ridings will be selected through an online application process and interviewed prior to being paired.
Equal Voice is closely monitoring the election in Newfoundland and Labrador in the hopes that the province will be able to improve the current representation of women in the House of Assembly.
“In nearly every election at the provincial or federal level within the last four years, we have seen women’s representation increase. In May, Canadians elected a historic 25 percent women to its national Parliament,” noted Nancy Peckford, a native of the province who now lives in Ottawa and serves as Executive Director of Equal Voice.
“There is no question that many women are motivated to run and voters want to see more women on the ballot. It’s Newfoundland and Labrador’s time.”
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For more information:
Raylene Lang-Dion, Chair, Ottawa Chapter (Equal Voice) – 613-355-3428
Nancy Peckford, Executive Director (Equal Voice) – 613-292-7941
Brittany Tiboo, Provincial Youth coordinator (Equal Voice) – 709-765-9257
EQUAL VOICE IN NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
Ø According to the three major political party websites in the province, of the Liberal Party’s eight declared candidates in the province, two are women (25%). Of the New Democrat’s 16 declared candidates, five are women (31%). The Progressive Conservatives currently cite six female candidates on their website (or 15%) from a total of 41 confirmed candidates.
COMPARATIVE CHART: WOMEN RUNNING FOR ELECTION
FED ELXN 2011
*As of August 2nd, the major parties in Ontario had 73% of their nominations completed. NL candidate numbers are as of August 4th.
ABOUT ‘EXPERIENCES’, EQUAL VOICE’S YOUTH ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM
Ø Experiences is Equal Voice’s national three year youth engagement and mentorship program which has received federal government support through Status of Women Canada and major private sector provinces including Merck Frosst and TD Bank. In the province, Experiences is supported by the Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment.
Ø Experiences has reached thousands of young women across the country through its speakers’ panels, campaign schools designed and delivered specifically for young women, on line tools and mentorship opportunities.
Ø Equal Voice has produced five minutes video documentaries of contemporary women politicians, including Shannie Duff and Siobhan Coady. Watch them here: http://www.equalvoice.ca/experiences/index.cfm
Ø Newfoundland and Labrador’s youth coordinator, Brittany Tibbo, has made presentations to Girl Guides clubs, participants of Miss Teen Achievement and the Newfoundland and Labrador Youth Parliament, among others, about how getting involved in politics can represent a real opportunity for young women to make a difference.