Next generation of Vancouver voices coming to Council chamber
Women4Politics is a way the City of Vancouver is working to close the gender gap in politics and I am proud to be a part of this great initiative.
Councillor Melissa De Genova
Eleven extraordinary young women are set to bring their unique viewpoints to City Hall after being selected to form a Mock Council.
The group of 18 to 23-year-olds were chosen as part of the City’s Women4Politics program and will be mentored by current members of council, as well as taking part in their own council meeting on October 29.
While Vancouver has a predominantly female council, women are still very much in the minority in terms of political representation across Canada and this program aims to give young women a chance to be involved in local politics.
In their applications the selected candidates demonstrated their passion for a number of local issues that Vancouver is facing including reconciliation, sustainability, housing, and the overdose crisis.
The Women4Politics mentees have wide and varied backgrounds, and represent the diversity and intersectionality found in our city. The group includes women who have overcome hardship, come to Canada as immigrants and women who have given a lot to their community including working with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, volunteering with women’s-rights charities and being a youth delegate for UN Climate Negotiations.
Kala to be mentored by Councillor Melissa De Genova
Kala Bryson, aged 20, is studying Political Science at UBC. Speaking about being involved in Women4Politics, Kala said: I have a great deal of faith in politics and the capacity of Canadian governments (at all levels) to create a society that can be an inclusive place for all and, while I would love to be involved in the creation of such a society, as of today I cannot conceive of where I would fit in.
“The fact that Vancouver has yet to ever elect a woman as Mayor, that there currently aren’t any female premiers, and that over 70% of the House of Commons is currently composed of men, makes it easy to feel like you’re an anomaly for being a woman who is interested in politics; by working with the other women in the program, my interest in politics feels normal for the first time in a long time”, Kala added.
Kala will be mentored by Councillor Melissa De Genova. Speaking about the need for more young women in politics, Councillor De Genova said: “We know that women need to be asked several more times than men before they seriously will consider running for elected office. Women4Politics is a way the City of Vancouver is working to close the gender gap in politics and I am proud to be a part of this great initiative.
As a woman who became interested in politics at a very young age, I am thankful to have had the opportunity to be mentored by elected officials and individuals working for government to deliver public policy. I hope to work with Kala to provide an experience that allows her to engage in important issues facing our city, and explore the political system involved with civic government.”
Women4Politics is part of a wider program of work that the City has done this year to mark Women Deliver, the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women, which took place in Vancouver from June 3-6, 2019.