This year we are launching “She Will Run Series” events to which a number of female speakers who are representative in their field or from a political party are invited. On the 27th of November, we had the biggest turnout among our events with the most speakers, including Anita Vandenbeld—Federal Liberal candidate of Ottawa-West Nepean, speaking about her political participation on an international level; Christine Belley and David Piccini from the Electoral District Association (EDA) of the Conservative Party of Canada for the riding of Ottawa-Vanier, speaking on how you can get involved in local politics; Lucy Abbot, the Counselor for Energy and Environment at the US Embassy; and Councilor Mathieu Fleury and his campaign team.
The speakers presented their perspectives about women in Canadian politics. Anita was such an excellent presenter that her an hour and a half speech on various aspects drew audience’s closes attention all the time. One eye-catching point she talked about was the electoral system which posted significant impact on election result, including women’s election. Countries with quota elect an average of 24% women compared to 12% without quotas. And those with proportional representation elect an average of 25% women compared to 14% for First-Past-the-Post. Looking at both parliamentary and republican, we’ll find that women are more likely to be elected Prime Minister rather than president. Since there are increasingly awareness of women along with feminist movements like periods of crisis and revolution of certain scale taking place, women tend to be equated with change.
Another speaker, Lucy Abbott. It was her first time coming to our event and what made us happy and proud was that everybody loved her and her speech and all said that it was brilliant to have her on our event. Although her speech was brief, it was impressive with a lot of fun. She introduced her education background and her career as a diplomat and spared more time to answer audience’s questions at the end of the event. One of the points mentioned by her was that a person’s interest in politics mattered. Personally, I admire her a lot and appreciate everything. As the first speaker invited by myself, I am grateful to her for offering me this opportunity and making this experience unforgettable to me.
The other speakers from the EDA are only a few years older than us and they graduated from University of Ottawa. They brought up the importance of getting involved in politics. Just simply get involved and you’ll get to know it better and better.
Overall, this event held by us was successful and educative. It gave us a lesson on women’s participation in Canadian politics from speakers’ perspectives who are indeed involved in politics. We were able to understand the big picture of women in politics through the introduction on political aspect like the electoral system as well as speakers’ personal experiences.
—-Bingjie Becky Shen, Official journalist/blogger of Equal Voice Uottawa Chapter