Okay let’s chat politics. Thoughts that have come up this week about politics: GENDER
I LOVE volunteering in politics. But what inspired me to get involved was the feeling I had working on the Naheed Nenshi for Mayor campaign. One reason I have thrown myself into Alberta Party’s campaigns is because it brings back that feeling. It is not just the excitement and new HOPE of a better future and better society… it is also the feeling of being appreciated, and being an equal. There is freedom of expression, creativity, and innovation on these campaigns.
AND on this campaign (Greg Clark for MLA in Calgary-Elbow), as well as Nenshi’s campaign, gender and age has never even been an issue, a subject, or even crossed each others minds. Like it comes up when we talk about our personal lives of course, but it isn’t part of the political sphere of our work. There is no ageism, there is no misogyny, there are no cultural prejudices, and because of that I feel more capable of giving back to the campaign.
But I’ve felt differently on other campaigns, like as soon as I walk into a room, my femaleness is suddenly a piece added to the playing board. An opportunity, or commodity to be used by the campaign. You know? Like people are not only counting how many women they have in the room, but also how the campaign can use the fact that I am a woman to their advantage. As though the fact I am a woman is all that matters, and whether I have actual intellect, experience and skills is either secondary or completely disregarded.
And so when I see people counting women or visible minorities in campaign photographs it drives me nuts. Because at the Alberta Party, we aren’t shopping and pre-designing our campaign photos. We don’t shop for women to be in photos, we don’t ask cultural groups to wear traditional clothing, and we don’t set up photos to include an Asian, African, Aboriginal and other visible nationalities to be purposely placed in campaign photographs. We don’t pick people to be in committees because of their gender or race. We ask people who offer to volunteer about their skills and place them where they can contribute the best, as they arrive.
I am special events coordinator on the Volunteer Coordination Team because those were the skills I had to offer that could best serve the campaign. And because of that I feel valued rather than objectified.
But I feel this way because the Alberta Party has double the number of women I normally see on campaigns. In fact I think we have an equal women to men ratio. If we weren’t so inclusive and diverse I’d be singing a completely different tune.
In the future we will probably need to start looking at taking time to make sure we have a broad range of perspectives in our committees and think tanks, but at the moment, as a brand new party, we have to focus on abilities and experience to get where we need to be. However, we are such an organic positive community right now, that thinking about being that contrived is almost outside of the definitions of what we stand for.
Our membership includes all sorts of backgrounds, nationalities, and ages. But we don’t ask certain people to pose in photos to provide a more culturally diverse image because that is super weird.
I get why organizations cave to this public pressure to do this, to portray accurately the multicultural Canadian vision and pride, but I guess we just aren’t that contrived.
Anyway.. basically I’m for an honest, accurate, personable, genuine and transparent community and social culture, and that includes our politicians, and political parties.
I’d really like to remove the ‘gender bias” as well as biases held against minority groups in politics, and just treat each other like humans. My femininity is part of who I am, but it is not all I am nor does it make me less valuable intellectually.
Thanks Alberta Party for leading the way to a better future and a more inclusive accepting society.