Women in politics focus of upcoming workshop

Campaign school hopes to encourage women to enter politics at all levels of government

The doors to campaign training school will open in Esquimalt to women wanting to find out what it takes to become a politician.

While the focus of the two-day workshop on Saturday and Sunday (June 25 and 26) will be municipal politics, it is open to all women thinking about campaigning as a federal, provincial or municipal candidate, or working on a woman’s campaign, said Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins.

“It’s how to get involved in politics 101,” she said.

Campaign training sessions, being held in different Canadian cities by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities before upcoming municipal elections – Nov. 19 in B.C. – are meant to break down barriers that prevent more women from seeking the political spotlight.

“They’ve seen some of the nastiness of campaigning,” Desjardins said.

According to the United Nations, at least 30 per cent of politicians at all political levels should be women to better reflect women’s issues. Canada falls below that at 22 per cent.

“We’re behind countries like Bolivia where you would think that it would be much harder as a woman to participate,” Desjardins said, adding that while municipalities in the Capital Region have improved representation, many women are still hesitant to be politically active.

“It’s a very different committee when you have either an equal or greater number of women at the table than men,” she said. “We do things in different ways.”

As such, workshop topics will include fundraising, the media, advertising, campaigning door-to-door and through social media, as well as building a campaign team.

The workshop happens at Esquimalt municipal hall, 1229 Esquimalt Rd., on Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. The cost is $50. To register, please visit www.fcm.ca and select Events.

emccracken@vicnews.com