Ready for Her campaign encourages women to get into local politics
Lethbridge city councillor Liz Iwaskiw has been elected for three terms. Right now, women only hold two of the nine positions on council, which is why Iwaskiw’s taking part in the Alberta government’s Ready for Her campaign. The goal is to get more women involved in local politics.
“My mom could never have dreamed of being on council in her life time,” Iwaskiw said. “So for me being on council is an amazing thing, but I’m disturbed by the fact that every term we have elected fewer and fewer women… I don’t know why it is and I don’t know how to fix it, but I think this discussion will help us.”
According to the the Alberta government, some of the reasons more women don’t go into municipal politics are because of childcare, campaign resources and the impression that councils are “an old boys club.”
Alberta’s Minister of the Status of Women Stephanie McLean has toured four cities to clear up misconceptions. Lethbridge is the last city she’s visiting.
“We are creating the opportunity to have a frank conversations… and hopefully help women get over the barriers that are preventing them from running, so we can get more women to put their name on the ballot for 2017,” McLean said.
On the Alberta government’s website, it said:
- The United Nations has found women should hold at least 30 per cent of elected seats for a government to reflect women’s concerns
- In 2013, only 26 per cent of people elected for mayor and council were women
- The Ready for Her campaign wants to see women account for 50 per cent of candidates for next year’s municipal election
“Men and women alike would like to see more women get involved in leadership roles, at all levels of government,” McLean said.
To qualify as a candidate in the Oct. 16, 2017 municipal elections you need to:
- Be at least 18
- Be a Canadian citizen
- Live in the local jurisdiction of your electoral division for six months
Iwaskiw hopes her story will encourage other women to get into politics sooner rather than later.
“I just think we bring a little different perspective and variety is the spice of life.”
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