Why we came to the LPCBC conference:
· My interests are national in scope:
I’m seeking a Parliament reflective of the Canadian population; where women’s voices can be heard; where we can understand and address why women are under-represented in the political arena. And I love politics.
· My interests are regional in nature:
Election and Organization readiness: We have a common cause in seeking to work together and run campaigns. We need to be better at talent spotting – to identify and attract women candidates, engage people who want to help and encourage candidates, organizers, and volunteers. We need a coordinated effort in getting volunteers trained and up to speed.
· My interests are personal:
I want to learn, participate, contribute and share! I want to know how to best apply my skillset, understand the barriers and contribute. I want to know how to contribute to campaigns, especially if I lack campaign experience. I want to be instrumental in fostering the success of women candidates by learning what is successful elsewhere and understanding how to apply this in my riding.
What barriers did we identify and what potential solutions can BCWLC and its supporters suggest?
· Macro impediments
We see a lack of engaged women in campaigns, an absence of role models; in some areas we experience an uninviting local party structure with a clique mentality. In some areas, we see an absence of “in-roads” into our local organizations. We see a cynical and unfriendly intrusion into our daily actions.
· Process Impediments
We identified a lack of knowledge of the political process, both leading up to campaigns and during campaigns. We identified a lack of knowledge of, and ability to use, political tools.
· Support needs
Many of you recognize the many roles that women fulfil and the economic realities facing us, and have difficulty equating the rewards of public service with the risk of interrupting a business career, family disruption, and media focus.
As we might expect, “lack of support” generated many thoughts and discussions. Some of the support issues are individual in nature, i.e., a lack of confidence; a lack of encouragement; our tendency, as females, to take on too many roles and then understand how to focus. Other issues included judgmental and stereotypical characterizations and a basic understanding of Election Canada limits (see video for explanation).
Support offered by BCWLC
These impediments can be mitigated and overcome through an active use of the network provided through BCWLC. BCWLC has enlisted the support of many riding Presidents and is building a BCWLC presence on riding executive committees.