50% population, yet 25% representation? Something doesn’t add up…
Throughout the past century, Canadian women have continually fought to have their voice heard on a political level. It was less than a century ago that women couldn’t exercise the right to vote or hold office. Only in 1929 were women considered “persons” in the full legal sense of the term.
It is quite clear that we have made significant strides for women in the past, but we still have an extremely long way to go. Women still comprise only a quarter of the seats in the Canadian Parliament. Not only this, they are often exposed to a language of harassment and violence each day, both online and in person. Sandra Jansen, a former MPP for the Progressive Conservative party, crossed the floor recently to the NDP. Due to harassment, sexist comments, and personal attacks, she was forced to leave the party. The comments about her floor crossing were extremely hateful and derogatory towards Sandra and all ambitious women aiming for a career in politics. They included:
“What a traitorous bitch.”
“You are both a disgrace to Alberta, lying bitches.”
“Sandra should stay in the kitchen where she belongs.”Another example of this was the US election, where we saw such a competent and qualified candidate lose to a racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic person like Donald Trump. Hillary fought extremely hard and faced disproportionate barriers to becoming president due to being female. She was characterized as being very closed-off and shrill, while a man with these same characteristics might be seen as powerful and strong. Women across the world continue to face these same barriers and are seen as less qualified and capable solely because of their gender.
As a young girl who dreams of becoming the Prime Minister in the future, it can be quite a deterrent to see such clear examples of gender inequality and sexism in politics. However, it is now more important than ever that we keep fighting to break through glass ceilings that Hillary Clinton and many other women are working to smash. We must all play a part in ensuring that women are equally represented in politics and across the entire playing field.
Last month, I had the opportunity to participate in a campaign spearheaded by Plan Canada’s Because I am a Girl initiative called ‘Girls Belong Here’. I had the chance to step into the role of a female politician for a day and saw for myself the importance of having equal representation in Parliament. That day inspired me even more to continue working towards a career in politics and eventually becoming the Prime Minister of Canada.
It is critical for all young women, including myself, to see themselves represented in all aspects of life, especially in politics. If young girls are able to see women like themselves making key decisions for their country, they will strive for greatness and dream bigger than ever, because if she can do it, so can I.
Creating equal representation of women in politics will continue to be a long fight, and it starts with YOU
Thanks for joining me on my journey to change the world!