Equal Voice Alberta North Chapter
“At home and around the globe these women are
making their voices heard.”
So reads the Equal Voice poster on my
wall that celebrates the women of the
40th Parliament and Canadian Senate.
Just as Womanition magazine recognizes
and promotes women entrepreneurs in
business, Equal Voice recognizes women
in politics and promotes electing more
women at all levels of government in
Women are half of the population in Alberta
and in Canada, but are nowhere near half
of the political decision-making structures
that shape our daily lives. In the 2008
federal election, Canada saw the highest
number in its history of women seeking
federal office – nearly 28% though only
22% were elected. Municipal statistics
published by the Federation of Canadian
Municipalities show only 25% of Mayors
and Councillors in Alberta are female.
If women do business differently, or
participate in community in different
ways than men, or have a different
household role than men, might more
women in politics lead changes to do
things differently? The United Nations
believes so – that a minimum of 30% of
women elected is required so that political
decisions accurately reflect issues of
importance to women.
The Canada West Foundation’s 2008
publication, What Women Want: Gender
Differences in Public Opinion and Political
Engagement in Western Canada indicated
that as long as women remained more
reticent than men to engage in political
activity, women’s stronger opinions about
social and environmental policy would not
be reflected in public policy. Women also
showed much higher support for reducing
homelessness and increasing affordable
housing – local issues likely to become October
There are many qualities and skills that women in
business share with women in politics.
Running your own business means you wear many
different hats; being an elected representative means
you wear many hats.
Women in business and women in politics must
network; be thoughtful leaders, innovative,
accountable for their actions and finances; pay
attention to needs and wants of the public; do their
research; promote themselves and their ideas to
the public and seek support of their peers; balance
independent thinking and collaborative strategy; solicit
feedback; recognize opportunities and potential;
create positive environments; coach and mentor
others; practice risk assessment and sound operating
practices; value honesty and loyalty.
Women in business and women in politics must also
be informed decision-makers. Many people associate
leadership with power, when it’s really about making
change happen with passion, collaboration and
These similarities between women’s leadership skills
in business and politics are reflected in Equal Voice’s
message to women in Alberta for the upcoming
October 18, 2010 municipal and school board
elections: Be Her or Support Her!
Equal Voice is about networking, supporting,
encouraging, reporting, advocating, and above
all, reminding everyone that women’s equal
representation be reflected in our governments.
Why is Equal Voice needed?
A 2008 national public opinion poll conducted by
Environics Research Group showed that 85% of
Canadians supported “efforts to increase the number
of women elected in this country.” Women were
almost universal (90%) in their desire to see more
women elected, and a large majority of men (79%)
also supported these efforts.
EQUAL VOICE Be Her or Support Her
Founded in 2001,
Equal Voice has become
an influential, national, multi-partisan volunteer
organization working for the election of more
women to all levels of government. Equal Voice
invites all women in their diversity of political
views, and men, to become members in local
chapters to support electing more women in
Interest in the work of Equal Voice is evident in
its growth: since 2001, Equal Voice has grown
from a founding chapter to a National level
organization with multiple chapters in British
Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick,
Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador.
In Alberta, there are three chapters: Equal Voice
Alberta South (EVAS), Equal Voice Alberta North
(EVAN) and a youth chapter on campus at the
University of Alberta (EVUA).
For girls and young women…
On their Experience’s Mentorship Program
website, Equal Voice posted videos of elected
women who are role models speaking up
about the need to mentor young women and
increase women’s political participation. Listen
and watch as Alberta women MLA Janice
Sarich, Beaumont Town Councillor Jacqueline
Biollo and Strathcona County Councillor Linda
Osinchuk share their Experiences.
Mentors with EV’s Experiences Program include
an Alberta MP, MLAs, and City, Town and
County councillors – women and men. Watch
for Equal Voice’s Youth Campaign School for
high school girls in Grande Prairie in late 2010.
You’re already active in your community: Have
you ever considered running for elected office?
We can help.
Equal Voice’s self-paced on-line Campaign
School provides practical tools for women
from all walks of life thinking about running for
public office. Getting to the Gate guides women
through the requirements and demands of
running for public office at all levels, from Town
Council or Band Office to provincial legislatures
to the Prime Minister’s Office.
How can you make a difference?
√ Run for office!
√ Support a woman running for office!
√ Donate to a woman’s campaign.
√ Volunteer on a woman’s campaign.
√ Door knock with a female candidate to learn
more about issues affecting your community.
√ Take a young woman to vote for her first
√ Be a role model – bring your children with
you to vote.
√ Join Equal Voice. www.equalvoice.ca
√ Donate to Equal Voice.
√ Watch the Experience’s videos with a young
adult in your life, to hear different
√ Educate yourself as to how policy or political
decisions might impact women differently
√ Ask questions at candidate forums, and of
candidates who come to your door.
√ Join a political party.
√ Complete Equal Voice’s non-partisan on-lineCampaign School Getting to the Gate and plan to run in future. http://www.gettingtothegate.com/
Janet Buckmaster, Chair
Equal Voice - Alberta North (EVAN) chapter