I’ve been asked this question more times than any other in my first term on City Council. I often respond that I have nothing to compare it too as this is my first term. I have been treated with respect and support from my colleagues over the past four years. In fact, they have also supported many of the ideas and motions I’ve made to advance women in our city including the support of the Women’s Advisory Committee, creating of the Gender Based Violence Prevention initiative, a child care policy for the city and including gender based analysis plus in council training and implementation throughout city. They have also supported the Opening the Potential program and many of them mentored women interested in politics as well as attending sessions to meet with women looking at being involved in politics. Recently Council supported the draft parental leave principles for future policy for elected officials in Edmonton.
Ideally, I think that the make up of City Council should reflect the citizens of the city with a diversity of gender, culture and age. We have seen over 60 women participate in different intakes of Opening the Potential and I am delighted to see many women running in the upcoming civic election and I do hope that we will see women running in every ward (at this time still 2 wards do not have any female candidates). I have personally met many of the candidates and pleased with such a diverse group of passionate citizens that have put their names forward to run! I never want to be elected because I am a women but because I am the best candidate, however, if women don’t run then the community will not even have that choice.
I have never felt limited in my role as a woman but think that have other women’s voices would be an asset. But I also understand as one woman I cannot sit on every committee, speak to every issue or be a part of every discussion. It is important to have more women elected and it starts with getting women to run for office. Now that we see more women running, do your homework and vote for the best candidate!
The most important thing any one of us can do is to vote on election day! Please get out and vote on October 16th!