'Sea of change': Majority of Waterloo politicians now women
With new faces embarking on a four-year tenure across Waterloo Region, the number of females representing the City of Waterloo has increased to nearly 80 per cent.
Following Monday’s election, 14 of the 18 people representing the people of Waterloo, from members of parliament to school board trustees, are women.
“Last night’s election shows that women are networking and supporting each other in politics,” said Waterloo Ward 6 councillor elect Julie Wright.
The shift is noticeable compared to the 2014 municipal election, during which women were represented in three of the seven council positions, and the mayor was a man.
In the City of Waterloo, six women will be leading the city, including Dorothy McCabe, the newest mayor of Waterloo.
According to the women who ran and won, they owe much of their success to the women who came before them.
“The women who run campaign school has been foundational to this, big shoutout to Jane Mitchell and Mellissa Durrell, who provided support to all the women who ran this time around,” said Wright.
In 2005, Mitchell, a former regional councillor, hosted a pre-election information session geared towards women interested in running for office.
“We have seen a sea of change in Waterloo region,” said Mitchell, now founder of the Women Run Campaign School.
Mary Lou Roe is the new ward six councillor in Waterloo and said the woman-led campaign school played a big part in her success.
“I think actually it says a lot about the women in the community,” said Roe, Waterloo Ward 6 councillor elect.
“I think women are really coming forward and we are having confidence in ourselves, and I think it shows women are ready.”
Candidates said there was an emphasis on helping each other out this time.
Some said those running for mayor or regional council were willing to help those running to be a ward councillor and vis-versa, and overall the campaign was far more supportive than combative.