Apr 05, 2017
On International Women’s Day McMaster Political Science students Katrina Oleniuk and Azra Alagic were among the 338 young women between ages of 18 to 23 to take a seat in the House of Commons.
The McMaster students were selected from over 1500 applicants to represent federal electoral ridings across Canada in the Equal Voice Daughters to Vote initiative. The opportunity was provided through Equal Voice, a national multi-partisan organization that supports the election of more women to all levels of government. The young women were invited to Ottawa to mark the 100th anniversary for some women gaining the right to vote in Canada. While there, the students had opportunity to meet with their Members of Parliament, attend provincial and federal events and to speak in the House.
“There’s such a taboo, especially around women in politics” said Alagic, a sentiment which was echoed throughout the day at Queen’s Park. The day’s discussions revolved around the challenges women face in politics. Issues of Islamophobia, Indigenous reconciliation, suicide, electoral reform, and child care were also discussed and the young women were addressed by a number of political figures including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Hon. Kim Campbell, Canada’s first female Prime Minister.
“This initiative is so important, to engage young women in politics,” said Oleniuk “It’s so important … to let other young women know that they have a voice and they can use that voice to have real influence.”
Both women expressed high praise for the opportunity and Oleniuk is currently in the process of establishing an Equal Voice chapter here at McMaster University.