Pat Bugera has co-founded the group Women in Politics

Nanaimo group seeks more women in politics

NANAIMO – Support network created to help female candidates win elections.

A new Nanaimo group is offering to throw support behind political candidates vying for seats in the upcoming civic election. The catch? You have to have an xx chromosome.

The non-partisan Women in Politics launched this year to turn up talk about gender representation in government and encourage more women to run for all levels of political office. It’s offering a continued network of support whether candidates win or lose, equipping women to campaign and connecting them to experienced female politicians.

Slightly more than half of Nanaimo’s population is women, which is currently represented by two female leaders at the council table. It’s a similar story at the provincial and federal levels where Equal Voice, a national organization encouraging more female participation in politics, reports women are represented at levels of 25 per cent or less – statistics the national chairwoman calls not good enough.

According to those involved in the local and national push for more female politicians, often women need to be asked to get involved, which is one of the barriers to participation, but citizens benefit when they do. They say women bring different leadership styles, perspectives and issues that may resonate with female voters.

“It just makes sense even if you don’t buy that women see things differently or women bring different things to the table. You have to recognize we are 50 per cent of the population and we should be occupying 50 per cent of the institutional seats,” said Coun. Diane Brennan, who has connected with women candidates through the new network.

The group is the brainchild of Ashwak Sirri, owner of the Grand Hotel, and Pat Bugera, public relations specialist, who wanted to explore the issue of women in politics, especially with the upcoming civic election. A panel on the issue, held earlier this year, drew more than 100 people and dozens turned out to hear experiences of female politicians and get tips on creating campaigns.

It struck a nerve, said Bugera.

“We’re going to watch carefully to see if any of the prodding we did, any of the discussion we had, had an effect in what goes on in this municipal election, but good, bad or otherwise we’re just going to keep having that conversation,” she said. “We don’t see this having a sunset.”

Brennan has already noticed the group helping to facilitate conversations, including from candidates wanting to know what the issues are, what they could encounter during a campaign and sign slogans. She says she could also help connect prospective candidates to organizations likely to give support and back those who encounter difficult people in a campaign or on council.

Karen Hovestad, a Nanaimo civic election candidate, would like to see the network seek out other qualified female candidates. At a recent forum by Progressive Nanaimo she noted 16 candidates and three were women.

“I think it’s going to be a real tough slog if there’s only one or two women. We really need more,” she said.

For Raylene Lang-Dion, national chairwoman for Equal Voice, a group of any size generating awareness about women in politics and encouraging more women to run is great. Equal Voice plans to launch a campaign next year to equip 5,000 women in five years to run for all levels of political office.

“It’s healthy democracy,” she said. “How are we supposed to be represented when we’re constantly under-represented in terms of our numbers?”

For more information, please contact Bugera at 250-618-8831.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Uplands Park Elementary parents say schools not appropriate voting stations

Elections B.C. says site of polling stations not yet determined, working with Dr. Henry’s office

Nanaimo RCMP remind drivers not to text after 19 tickets handed out in 90 minutes

The $368 fines were handed out Tuesday on Norwell Drive and Old Island Highway

Nanaimo RCMP seize firearms, ID, portable debit machine as ‘prolific offender’ arrested

Austin Carlson-McPherson, 24, accused of crimes in Nanaimo, Duncan, Port Renfrew and Sooke

Snuneymuxw artist brings aquatic designs to Nanaimo’s Beban Park pool

Work by artist Eliot White-Hill is being installed at the pool this month

Event was virtual, recognition was real at Nanaimo Business Awards

Online event praised Nanaimo businesses and organizations for excellence in 21 award categories

Beefs & Bouquets, Sept. 23

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Island Corridor Foundation launches survey on importance of Vancouver Island rail

“ICF remains 100 per cent committed to the restoration of full rail service on Vancouver Island”

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Three years for serial bank robber who hit southern Vancouver Island branch

Lucas Bradwell was wanted for robberies in Abbotsford, Sidney and Vancouver

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Penticton woman sentenced to one year in prison for manslaughter of teen boyfriend

Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

Most Read