Women and Politics

So this upcoming semester I am taking a ‘Women in Politics’ class that I am really looking forward to. The only reservation is that it isn’t too ‘2nd Wave’ in that women in politics have to reach a 50/50 equilibrium in order to be properly represented.

Women in politics is much more than that. Of course I want a 50/50 standing of women and men, but more so I want candidates from varying ethnic backgrounds, physical abilities, economic classes, gender identities, and sexualities, among others. A person’s background completely influences their policies and world view. That’s why a varying Parliament is so important – to represent the interests of all Canadians. I want women’s and other minorities interests represented and taken seriously, not as solely a ‘women’s issue’ or a ‘minority issue’.

I do not want to see issues of family, a la Christy Clark’s ‘Families First’ campaign, the focus. Families are more than nuclear, especially when the divorce rate is at 50%. My best friend I consider my family. We are not necessarily born into our family, but choose them. Sure, a tax splitting initiative might help save a family of four a couple hundred dollars, but what of single parents? Those who face an even more difficult struggle? Where is their break?

That is just one example. 31% of all candidates are women, but that does not mean women have a 31% chance of winning their ridings. 1/5th of ridings where a women is running is likely to be won. What does this mean? That men are more likely to be taken seriously? That women are just for show? That a male candidate is a ‘safe’ bet? That there should be affirmative action in politics? I have many questions that I hope this course explores.

The way politics is done is off-putting for many women. Just watching question period rubs me the wrong way. Myself, I would probably never enter politics because I feel there are other ways to change government than from within, and that I would be afraid that it would wear on me, being attacked constantly for my ideas and beliefs. What I think is a part of me, so if someone attacks my ideas they are attacking me as well.

Politics is also a full-time job that is not viable for many women. Heck, even keeping track of politics while working two jobs and going to school full-time is wearisome. I can’t imagine what it is like for a woman with kids to be involved either federally, provincially, or locally.

In my riding I have Susan Keeping of the NDP. She is a sound candidate and personally, way more preferable than Conservative Russ Hiebert who sends multiple unwanted flyers and Consrvative propaganda to my residence, and more preferable than the ancient Liberal candidate Hardy Staub who’s stint as White Rock mayor leaves one to question why he’s entering politics again, let alone as a Liberal because he is fiscally conservative.

In the future I would like to make a post about current women leaders. Although not a woman, Bolivian President Evo Morales is my political idol and hero. Would a Canadian PM ever describe her/himself as “married to Canada”?

More Women Running This Election – But Many in Hopeless Races