News / Ottawa

Hundreds of young women heading to Ottawa to take over parliament for a day

Young women from across the country will take a seat in parliament to showcase a more diverse future government.

Jasmine van Schouwen will represent the Kanata Carleton riding in the event.


Jasmine van Schouwen will represent the Kanata Carleton riding in the event.

As Canada marks 150 years as a country, Equal Voice is hoping to show all of us what a dramatically different parliament could look like.

The organization, which encourages women to run federally, is bringing 338 young women from across the country to literally take a seat in parliament on March 8, as part of a conference called Daughters of the Vote.

Jasmine van Schouwen, a law student at the University of Ottawa will represent her riding of Kanata-Carleton at the event. She said she hopes the event will show that there are women interested in office.

“There is a big myth that there aren’t women who are qualified or interested in taking political office,” she said. “It will be a beautiful image to see that there are women who are ready to take these positions.”

Currently, women occupy 26 per cent of the seats in parliament. Van Schouwen said that low representation leaves a lot of issues off the agenda.

“It means that women’s issues are often simply not discussed, but it also means that young girls don't have women to look up to.”

She said, even if just briefly and symbolically, having every seat in parliament occupied by a woman will show the system can change and be more representative.

Mary-Anne Carter, co-chair of the National Capital Region chapter of Equal Voice, said the event will include more than just the day in parliament, but events designed to give women the tools to actually run for office. 

“Part of this initiative is to encourage young woman to see that they are capable of taking on this journey,” she said. 

Equal Voice started announcing the list of delegates in mid December and Carter said they were overwhelmed with the interest they received in the event.

She said picking delegates was challenging and she expects the conference will show the depth of future female leaders are out there in Canada.

“These women are really doing some fabulous things in their community. So it’s going to show the talent we have.”

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