National Contest Encourages Young Women to Get Engaged in Politics
Smithers, B.C. – A program aimed at encouraging young women to become politically engaged has the enthusiastic support of one northern MP.
The Daughters of the Vote project allows one young woman from each Canadian riding (between the ages of 18 and 23) the chance to temporarily take a seat in Parliament in a national initiative marking 100 years since women won the right to vote in provincial elections.
The contest is being run by Equal Voice Canada, a group working to elect more women to public office.
The winners will participate in a two-day summit in Ottawa ending on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2017.
“It’s a brilliant idea to bring more young women into politics,” says Skeena-Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen.
“It will allow young women to come take a seat in Parliament, engage in not only the issues of the day but also just to learn how to get into politics, how to be effective because even after all these years the turnout of women to run for office stays very low.”
He claims his party has done well in this regard, estimating that between 42-43% of current NDP MP’s are female.
“But the Parliament overall is around 30 or less percent and this program is a really good way to do that because it brings people right into the mix, right into the heart of our Parliament.”
So what’s holding women back?
“Well there’s barriers when you look at the way some of the party’s work. Within the NDP we have specific support for women candidates who are trying to apply,” says Cullen, adding it’s hard for women with kids not to mention the economic barriers.
“We know that women earn less for equal work in Canada still and we still don’t have legislation in Canada to end that.”
Cullen says “the toxicity of politics” is also a turn off for young women.
“I talk to a lot of young people, young women in particular, and they watch the violence and anger that goes on in our politics and they say ‘I don’t want anything to do with that.’ So we have to change the way that we talk to one another and show greater respect.”
Those interested in applying have until Thursday at midnight to do so and can hit the following link to learn more: http://www.daughtersofthevote.ca/.