In the 2015 federal election, a record number of Canadian women voted, and as a result, our issues have taken centre stage.
As the Minister for Women and Gender Equality, serving in Canada’s first gender-balanced Cabinet, I’ve seen first-hand that things get better for women when they actively participate in our democracy. In fact, as things get better for women, they get better for everyone: In the next decade, Canada’s economy could grow by $150 billion merely by seeing women participate, as equals, in every sector of the economy.
As we debate women’s issues in this upcoming federal election, let’s remember that we’re on the verge of real equality and real economic prosperity. To achieve these goals, Canadian women must get out and vote. We must continue to exercise our power and ensure that the federal government is focused on our agenda.
When women vote, smart governments listen. That is the power of our voice. – MARYAM MONSEF
THREE EASY WAYS TO GET INVOLVED
Step one to getting involved during this election season: Find out who is running in your electoral district through the Elections Canada site. Step two? Well, that’s up to you. Here are three other ways to get involved in the process that go beyond double-tapping.
Merge advocacy with personal interests.
Action isn’t limited to protesting or signing a petition. In fact, there are more and more ways to merge passion projects and participation. Interested in theatre? Calgary-based Downstage produces inventive plays that aim to start conversations about topics like ocean pollution or debt. (And its Pay It Forward program provides free tickets for anyone who wants to attend—no reason needed.) Whether you want to audition, submit your own script or simply be a member of the audience, there’s a place for everyone.
Be a mentor—or get one.
Toronto-based organization G(irls)20 works with non-profit governmental and social sectors to create more places for women at the table. Volunteer as a coach and provide professional mentorship to young women ages 18 to 25—or, if you’re in a position of power, do like the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Public Policy Forum have done and offer up space on your board for emerging leaders to have their ideas heard.
Find people who will support you.
There are still so many barriers that marginalized women face when looking to participate in politics. Young Women’s Leadership Network is a non-profit that builds community and political leadership among black, Indigenous and racialized women and non-binary people. Through education and training workshops, the organization provides opportunities for girls to learn about inclusive policy-making, gain professional development skills and hear from established leaders and politicians. ERICA NGAO
A version of this article originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of ELLE Canada.