At first glance, these four hashtags might have you confused; you may be familiar with the United Nations #HeForShe campaign for gender equality (click here if you’re not) and you may even be familiar with the #askhertorun campaign which is a take off of a #sheshouldrun campaign that started in the United States. But the #AddWomenChangePolitics campaign is a homegrown effort started by the Liberal Party of Canada in concert with last year’s International Women’s Day and continued through the 2015 celebration.
According to a report by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Canada ranks 48th among 190 countries in regards to female representation in national parliament. At 25.2%, it stands just 3% above the world’s average, placing behind countries including El Salvador, France, South Sudan, and Spain.
Getting women in government is one challenge. Keeping them there is another. Highly gender-equitable governments, such as that of Sweden and South Africa, have seen decreased female representation in recent years.
Women are 50% less likely than men to consider themselves worthy to run for political office; we all know qualified women, women who have amazing stories and experiences that they could bring to running the government. The Liberal Party is committed to encouraging women to take their place in the House…of Commons that is.
The strategy is simple: we need to ask, ask, ask, and then ask again. What is exciting about this year’s federal election is that the three major parties have women at the helms of their campaigns; the Liberals are extremely fortunate to have Katie Telford as their campaign manager, who has worked tirelessly with Justin Trudeau and all members of the Liberal team to bring a qualified and excited group of women to run for political office.
All things being equal, once a female is nominated they are just as likely to get elected as men. However the barrier is getting them nominated. It can be intimidating, as there is still that perception that women don’t belong in politics or they don’t have the stomach for it. I believe that we are finally seeing a shift in that mentality; with so many citizens being turned off by the old-school, negative, ‘political’ way of thinking, we have to move towards a better and more positive way of doing things.
One of the candidates that I am extremely proud to support is Catherine McKenna in Ottawa-Center. She is a young mom to three active kids who founded a charitable organization called Canadian Lawyers Abroad. She also teaches university courses to impart wisdom on the upcoming leaders of tomorrow and sits on several boards. She epitomizes the #addwomenchangepolitics mindset, and has been extremely effective on passing that message along to young women in her riding, Ontario, and across the country.
Please take a look at the following videos for more information about the campaigns. If you would like to run, or know someone who should be asked, please visit Liberal.ca for more information.