‘She Should Run’ event encourages women to get involved in politics

Saskatchewan MLA Laura Ross knows how much convincing it can take to get women involved in politics.

“Women have to be asked at least five times before they will consider seeking any position on a board, or public office,” she said.

“Whereas men, they’re asked once and they say ‘yeah I can do that’ and away they go.”

A stroll through the Saskatchewan legislature’s “Saskatchewan Gallery” of former premiers reveals the gender imbalance that permeates the building’s history.

That’s why she helped organize She Should Run, an event centred around helping women learn and discuss the idea of becoming involved in politics or their communities.

“And also to maybe have them connect to a network of women who they feel would be very supportive,” Ross added.

She Should Run is an initiative created by the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Canadian Region, of which Ross is chair. The organization’s chief mandate is to encourage women to seek public office.

They plan to run a campaign school, for which they hope this event can be “an introduction.”

“It’s to help women become comfortable with the idea of serving the public,” Ross said.

Of Saskatchewan’s two biggest cities, Saskatoon has slightly higher female representation on its city council. Six of its 11 council members are women. In the Queen City, three of 11 council members are women.

Provincially, just 16 of 61 seats are filled by women. Premier Scott Moe’s current cabinet is made up of five women and 13 men.

When it comes to federal politics, Saskatchewan currently hosts five female members of Parliament out of a total 14. That balance has the potential to change, albeit only slightly, with the upcoming federal election.

As of Thursday, September 12, 26 of 59 federal election candidates announced for Saskatchewan are women.

As of Wednesday morning, of the 59 candidates announced to date by the five biggest parties in the province, 26 are female.

Of course, while the impending federal election is top of mind, the event’s goal is to help women pursue any level of political office or board of directors.

“When I’m at events, they ask me questions: what is it like, how did you know you wanted to run,” said Regina Ward 4 city councillor and event co-organizer Lori Bresciani.

“How much does it cost, how do I run a campaign? These are the questions we’re hoping to help answer.”

Ross and Bresciani say that if you missed Thursday’s event, you can always give them a phone call to discuss running for election. They’re also planning on hosting a Campaign School in November.

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