City-run workshop promotes women in Montreal politics
Gender parity and equal rights were among the many topics discussed on Saturday at Montreal City Hall, where the city hosted Cité Elles Citoyennes 2018, a workshop for women with political aspirations.
“The goal is really to encourage women to be more involved in their community and in their neighborhoods,” Coun. Cathy Wong of Peter-McGill district said.
A group of 80 women got to rub shoulders with several female city councillors as part of the workshop.
The event included roundtable discussions and talks by city officials on how to improve the role of women in municipal politics.
Participants also had the chance to get an inside look at the inner workings of the city council.
“We believe that it is important to have parity,” Wong said. “Women should be more involved in their municipal politics.”
Women have been increasingly gaining strength in Quebec’s political landscape.
Seven of the 18 borough mayors in Montreal are women.
Women also accounted for 43 per cent of the candidates running for government in the 2017 municipal election — the same election that saw Mayor Valerie Plante rise to power.
Plante, who is the first woman ever elected mayor of Montreal, was absent from Saturday’s event.
Montreal city council also has a gender parity — 53 per cent of its members are women.
The increase in elected women isn’t just at the municipal level; more women than ever are joining politics at the provincial level, too.
The 2018 provincial election saw 52 women elected, representing a historic 42 per cent of the 125 ridings in the Quebec National Assembly.
Statistics like these are a ray of sunshine for Cité Elle Cityoennes participant Ericka Alneus.
“It will encourage other girls to represent themselves in school council or other places to make sure their voices are heard,” Alneus said.
Alneus enjoys the opportunity to have discussions with city officials because she says they help foster continuing dialogue and go a long way toward creating an inclusive future. She adds that the event provides time for participants to talk about important issues affecting women of all backgrounds.
Still, while the event offers women an opportunity to learn new skills from other women in politics, Alneus says more can be done to increase the number of women in politics.
“It’s not done. There is still work to be done for equality,” Alneus said.
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