Late last year, a friend of mine involved in local politics asked if I had ever considered running for municipal council. She outlined a number of reasons she thought I would be a strong representative for residents in ward 9. Of course, it’s clear now that I took her advice and am running to be our next ward 9 councillor. The journey so far has connected me to a number of local organizations who encourage and support women to become more engaged in local politics, including running for office.
One group that provided both the inspiration and the information needed to run for local politics was the Women’s Municipal Campaign School which offered two days of workshops in the Region. Not only did I learn a lot at these sessions, but I was welcomed into a supportive community of passionate women dedicated to helping more women run and get elected.
Through these connections I then became involved in starting a local chapter of Equal Voice, a multi-partisan organization "dedicated to electing more women to all levels of political office in Canada." I was elected as co-vice chair to the steering committee and I have contributed to establishing the direction for the local chapter.
Once I filed my nomination papers in May, I started talking more seriously with other women who are running this fall. We are now a group of 15 women who connect regularly, through social media, attending each other’s campaign events, or even attending fun, local events in our community such as Music Bingo at Descendants (pictured left).
And this past January I marched with many others in the Women’s March Canada in downtown Kitchener. This began my connection with an organization that offers a wide variety of supports and education, including a desire to see progressive women run in local politics. They are currently compiling a list of such candidates and posting it to their website. Here’s my profile on that page.
An essential component of our democratic system is the representation of all citizens. Everyone deserves to have a voice at the table. Our current local councils do not yet have gender parity. More women on council is one step we can take to better mirror the demographics of our community. I am proud to work with organizations like those mentioned above to support more diversity on our local councils.
If you would like to meet some of the amazing women running locally this fall, consider joining us Tuesday evening for a meet-and-greet event. Find out details here.