Getting women into politics
Coun. Shari Green is hoping to help other women avoid some of the potholes she ran across three years ago.
“There was nothing like this three years ago,” the Prince George city councillor says, “and there needs to be.”
Green, fellow councillor Debora Munoz, Mackenzie Mayor Stephanie Killam and Regional District of Fraser Fort George Lara Beckett will be among the presenters at a two-day workshop this weekend in the city.
The workshop, which is deigned to get more women into municipal government, is hosted by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), and is one of a series the federation is hosting across the country.
The United Nations has set a goal of having at least 30 per cent female participation in government. In Canada, about 23 per cent of elected officials are women. To reach the U.N. goal, Canada would need to have more than 1,700 more female officials.
“This kind of workshop will help to clear up misconceptions people may have about running for office,” Green said. “Some people may decide it’s not for them, but others might decide it doesn’t sound as bad as they thought it would be.”
The focus of the workshop is on getting women to run for municipal government, with elections across B.C. this fall, and not on how to be a councillor.
“Everyone has their own ideas on what they want to do when they’re elected,” Green says. “This isn’t about that, this is about what to expect during the campaign.”
She says that while she supports getting more women involved in municipal government, there is one thing to remember.
“We shouldn’t elect people just because they are women, but there are women out there who could serve well and may not know what is involved.”
Prince George Coun. Garth Frizzell, a member of the FCM executive, says the idea to hold a workshop in Prince George came up at the group’s convention last year.
“Members of the women’s caucus came to me and asked if we wanted to host one of the workshops here, so I said we would.”
The project has been funded by Status of Women Canada, and started with three workshops in the fall. After this weekend’s session in Prince George, there will be another in Whistler on June 18 and 19 and one in Esquimalt on June 25 and 26.
For more information on the Getting to 30 program, go to www.fcm.ca.