The room was filled to capacity to hear the four women speakers talk about the following:
- Numbers of women in all levels of politics
- Barriers to running politically
- Impact of media on women
- Our relationship to money and the impact on affording a campaign
- The necessity of the grassroots level in developing new leaders
- The art of patience, as change takes a long time.
Much emphasis was given to the number of women in society compared to the number in politics. Awesome, genuine speakers spoke with passion, hope and determination. The key messge: we have to give back, make a difference, no more standing on the sidelines.
What impressed me about the session? Although we can be continents apart, the struggle is connected, we are in this together and it is only together that we will find solutions and success. We need to be smart, educated, strategic, and supportive. We have to understand and have knowledge of the human rights based approach as the key to better societies.
There are many great women doing amazing things. A young lady named Olivia spoke passionately about a partnership with a school in Afghanistan to encourage the participation of girls. In Afghanistan girls deal with child marriage, poverty, culture restrictions, and violence every day. Olivia and girls like her are making a difference; they are not sitting on the sidelines.
Today, 30 Countries have achieved 30% of women in political office/power. Of those countries, 22 of them used some form of temporary process to increase representation, like quotas. Women are less likely to be asked to run or think they should run.
In the two sessions on eradication of poverty and empowering women to be politically active there was certainly something missing: the role that organized labour plays in reducing poverty and supporting women in politics. We have work to do to educate the women of the world of our role in creating better societies.
The world is run by the people who show up. Today the women showed up.
Joan Jessome, Nova Scotia Government Employees Union