We Need to Elect Women
November 29 is International Women Human Rights Defender Day. In many places around the world, women are not granted the right to education, work and political participation. Recently we have watched our sisters march in protest against the Taliban restrictions on the rights of women to hold senior positions in Afghanistan’s new government.
COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on inequities that still exist for women here in Canada. In September 2020, Marie-Claude Landry (Chief Commissioner of Canadian Human Right Commission) and Karen Jensen (Federal Pay Equity Commissioner) said “…women are among the hardest hit by the pandemic. Many of the frontline workers being called upon to serve and support their communities are women… some among the poorest paid workers in the country…That is why we recently called for Canada to take a feminist approach to its social and economic recovery efforts.”
The pandemic has caused many hard-working women to lose their employment or be forced to leave the workforce as a result of inadequate childcare support. Still other women, isolated for their safety, have experienced increasing instances of domestic violence within their own homes.
In 1977 The Canadian Human Rights Act stated that all Canadians have the right to equality, equal opportunity, fair treatment, and an environment free of discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, marital and family status. The Government of Canada’s Policy on Gender Equality states “Equal participation goes beyond numbers. It involves women’s equal right to articulate their needs and interests as well as their vision of society and to shape the decisions that affect their lives whatever cultural context they live in.”
Our communities deserve and need the perspectives and emphasis brought forward by women who work to improve economic opportunity, community services, affordable housing, and freedom from oppression, abuse and personal safety for all ages.
A great way for women to impact real and sustainable change in our community is by becoming involved in the political process. In 2020, a new organization called electHER was formed in Grey Bruce. Its mandate is to increase the number of women at the local political decision-making tables, encouraging and supporting women seeking and holding municipal office with networking and learning opportunities. Our goal is to achieve 50% female representation across the 17 municipalities in Grey-Bruce by 2030. Today, this number is only 26% in an area where women make up 50.8% of the population.
We encourage anyone who is interested in helping to power change for women in their communities to attend a free electHER learning event, visit our website at electhernow.ca and contact us at email@example.com.
Together, we can amplify our collective voices, increase women’s participation in civil society and defend women’s rights now and for future generations. Our communities deserve this!
Laura Wood & Carol Merton are the Co-Founders of electHER Grey-Bruce
email: firstname.lastname@example.org website: electhernow.ca