News / Ottawa

Teen experiences one of environment minister’s ‘craziest, busiest’ days

One of the first things Raisa Masud will tell you about being a federal cabinet minister is that it’s hectic.

Raisa Masud, 17, got a peak into what it’s like occupying the seat of a leader this week when she shadowed Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna for a particularly busy day at Parliament.

Adam Kveton / Metro Order this photo

Raisa Masud, 17, got a peak into what it’s like occupying the seat of a leader this week when she shadowed Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna for a particularly busy day at Parliament.

One of the first things Raisa Masud will tell you about being a federal cabinet minister is that it’s hectic.

The second thing she’ll tell you, and it might sound funny considering we are talking about politics, is that co-operation is what makes getting through the day possible. That means fostering co-operation with other parties as well as having a team that can get you from one meeting to the next, she said.

And 17-year-old Masud knows what she’s talking about. She spent a day this week shadowing Ottawa Centre MP and Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna during what McKenna called one of her “craziest, busiest” days yet.

The opportunity was part of the first ever #GirlsBelongHere initiative, which challenged people in a position of power to “give up their decision-making seats” to a young woman for a day to show that they belong in them.

The initiative continues up to the International Day of the Girl on Oct. 11.

Masud became a part of the initiative after volunteering for a year as a public speaker on gender equality, speaking to more than 500 people.

Overall, she said the experience has given her a positive outlook on the progress towards gender equality, especially when it comes to youth who take for granted that gender doesn’t dictate how you should behave or what you should like.

Masud has experienced those same types of gender stereotypes in her own life. She loved professional wrestling when she was younger, to the bewilderment of some friends who thought it was something only boys would enjoy. Now she says some friends label her as particularly feminine because of her love of writing poetry.

 “I’m able to share my feelings through poetry and someone being able to share their feelings … shouldn’t be identified with a gender because no one should be not able to share their feelings.”

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