'I think anybody can do it': Local program aims to get more women in politics
Published Saturday, February 1, 2014 7:11PM EST
A local program is helping teach women interested in politics the nuts and bolts of running for municipal office.
“I think anybody can do it, honestly,” says Waterloo Councillor Melissa Durrell, who spoke at Saturday’s session. “If you’re passionate about your community and you want to move your community forward, you should run."
The program, called Women’s Municipal Campaign School, covers everything from when to file the appropriate paperwork to how to play within campaign rules.
The goal, says Waterloo City Councillor Diane Freeman, is to make the process more accessible.
“A lot of times women are underrepresented in political office at every level,” she says. “And the hope is to help shift that balance and to encourage women to maybe consider a career in politics if they haven't done so in the past.”
About 50 women turned out for Saturday’s session, which cost about $20.
The most frequently cited concern, according to councillors, was work-life balance.
“I loved hearing about the personal experience of trying to gain balance and perspective in managing a family, your professional life and certainly a political life,” says Helen Jowett, who’s running for regional council.
Women attending Saturday’s session said they see the value in having different perspectives on council.
“I find that women are more involved in the heritage and environment issues,” said a participant. “I'm glad to see those changes happening.”