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Run Like a Woman – Women & Politics

Three board members of Women & Politics.
Shawna Lewkowitz (Right), Suze Morrison, Marci Easton

Sean Meyer

Three board members of Women & Politics. Shawna Lewkowitz (Right), Suze Morrison, Marci Easton

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Politics is considered a man’s world and has been for many years. Only 20% of the Senate in the United States is made of women, while the other 80% are men. That percentage is smaller than most other places around the world, but why is this? Why are women considered less equal and less qualified than a man and what can we do to change it? Many organizations such as Women & Politics are working hard to get more women into politics. When interviewed, Shawna Lewkowitz, the founder of Women & Politics said “Women on average need to be asked three times as often as men to run.”  Women & Politics tries to get more women involved in politics by running community events, connecting with women and encouraging them to run.

Women & Politics started up three years ago in 2013, and has been very active in the community of London Ontario since then. It started close to the time of the last Municipal election when some key women on London City Council were stepping down and Shawna wanted to see more women taking leadership roles in her community. She also noticed that when attending other political meetings in the community, the women talked far less than the men did and seemed to be overlooked.

Women politicians and women hoping to run for office face many challenges. One of them being that women are still considered the primary caregivers of children, and since they still have most of the domestic responsibilities it makes it hard when things such as council meetings are held at odd hours. Another problem is, when they get media attention it is usually focused more on their appearance or the way they speak instead of policy. Shawna said, “These issues are even larger for women of colour, women in poverty, disabled women, and LGBTQ women.”

The recent presidential election seems to have made big impact as well on these issues. “We saw the most qualified presidential candidate ever, running against a man with no qualifications and yet she still lost. That can send the message to women that we have to work so much harder than men to get to the same goal. Hillary Clinton is the epitome of having to work twice as hard as a man to get to the same place.” However, she still sees the positive side to this because she said that it can fuel a women’s desire to go into politics. Women who enter politics are usually driven by a strong social need that they want to make a difference on, and this election highlighted how important it is to have diverse voices at the table willing to speak on policy issues that make life better for everyone. As Shawna concluded, “Don’t let yourself or anyone else talk you out of putting your name forward, because when women run, they win in equal numbers as men who run.”

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