Electing women.

When the wife was having a Zoom meeting the other day with her book club, she used my computer. For some reason, I could not load Zoom on her laptop. The connection was messy, she was late and my way of getting her there caused a funny echo for the others that I had to fix.

I mention this because I ended up listening to most of their discussion. They were discussing a book by a British author (Caroline Criado Perez from Oxford and the London School of Economics). It was on the data bias in a world (supposedly) designed for men. The book drove a clear wedge between the men and women in the club. The men seeing progress and the women not seeing enough.

While it is always easier to find gender imbalance in the United Kingdom, I was intrigued when they got to the gender imbalance in politics. Among an obviously well-educated audience of Canadians there seemed little awareness of some of the differences in North American politics. Canada’s parliament has come a long way from when Ellen Fairclough was the first woman in the federal cabinet. Yes, it is difficult for women in politics and there should be more of them.

I have worked with some wonderful women in politics over the years. I find they have different instincts, pressures, objectives and approaches than men. They tend to be more family oriented and nesters.

And they can be tough. One of my first mentors in politics was Jean Gertrude ‘True’ Davidson of East York (now part of Toronto). True was of the old breed of politicians and she never lost in all her municipal trials. She was probably why I enjoyed a friendship with Hazel McCallion in Mississauga. Hazel was mayor of Streetsville when we first met and soon mayor of the City of Mississauga. Her 36 years with that city is a remarkable legacy.

In more than 60 years in politics, I have always encouraged women to participate. They have much to offer.

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