November 6, 2017 6:22 pm
Updated: November 9, 2017 2:25 pm

‘You have four children?’ Newly elected female politicians in Montreal squash gender stereotypes

WATCH: Over a dozen women were elected as mayors in Greater Montreal. Global's Felicia Parrillo reports.


Maja Vodanovic is getting ready to take her place as the new mayor of Lachine.

For her, this win is significant for many reasons, but there’s one reason that’s extra special.

“I kept going around, door-to-door, talking to people, and I said, if Valérie Plante is elected, she’s the first woman mayor in 375 years of Montreal and if I’m elected, I’m the first in 350 years in Lachine,” she said.

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READ MORE: Valérie Plante elected first female mayor of Montreal

Vodanovic is one of 15 women mayors elected to office in the greater Montreal area.

Dozens of women were also elected both city and borough councillors.

Vodanovic says she’s thrilled to be part of what she calls a movement.

READ MORE: Montreal’s 2017 municipal election features more gender parity than in 2013 vote

“I’m so proud to be part of it,” she said. “We’re going to take care of each other, we’ll take care of the people, the people are going to participate, and we’re going to do this right, we’re going to work hard.”

Though the mayors and councillors Global News spoke to say they’re ecstatic to be part of the wave of females elected to office, they also say, women in politics still face many challenges.

“There’s still a narrative that goes on out there that if you have a young family, then this isn’t where your priorities should be, but I am able to raise my family and be there for them, and also do this job,” said Westmount’s re-elected mayor, Christina Smith.

READ MORE: Montreal elections 2017: Live results across Greater Montreal

That’s something Dominique Godin can relate to.

The newly elected councillor in Beaconsfield says she still doesn’t get treated like her male counterpart would.

“They would never ask a man: ‘oh, you have four children? Who will take care of the children?’ In fact, that would be an added bonus for that man — wow, he’s that and he has four children,” she explained. “Whereas a woman, it’s: ‘you’re going to do that, but you have four children?’ So there’s a disbalance that still exists.”

Though at times those comments can be discouraging, all three women say they hope young girls who see their journey will be inspired, so that this kind of trend only continues to grow.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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