Show Her the Money

Show Her the Money
Posted on March 8, 2015 | Catherine Fortin LeFaivre | Written on March 8, 2015
Letter type:

Show Her the Money

We need to move beyond awareness to achieve greater gender representation.

Just tweeting about it won’t get us very far.

Every year in the weeks surrounding International Women’s Day, we see frequent references made to the lack of female representation in elected office at every level. This year is no different. 

It’s fair to say that most Canadians agree at this point that a more diverse decision making table is a more effective one and that our Canadian stats are embarrassing (25% in the House of Commons; 17% at Ottawa's City Hall).

Personally, I’ve become immune to hearing about the dismal stats, and I wonder how many others have too.

As someone close to the issue, having been involved with organizations advocating for greater gender representation, and as a former female political candidate myself, I’m ready for us to enter a new phase in this quest—one where we see results.

While awareness and more women candidates are good first steps and should be ongoing endeavors, what we really need are more women to actually WIN. And to win, quite simply, you need a lot of money and you need a lot of people.

I believe women generally have a more difficult time with the fundraising aspect. Asking for money is uncomfortable for us. It was for me. But we need to get over this limitation quickly. Money—and lots of it—is crucial for success. You cannot win without it.

So if you actually do want to see progress, you need to step up with your chequebook or your time, now. With the federal election just around the corner, candidates need support early to have a chance.

Sure, keep retweeting about the stats, attend awareness events and discuss the issue at length with your networks, but failure to move beyond this point will do nothing to move toward the goal of electing more women.

It’s really not that hard to be in favor of gender parity on the surface by espousing platitudes—but this awareness will only be relevant if it leads to concrete action.

 So, are you game to put your money (or your time) where your mouth is? Or are you a gender parity poser?

Catherine is the Principal of CFL Communications and a former candidate in the 2014 Ottawa municipal elections. She believes that adding more women will change politics. @CathFM 

About The Author's picture

Catherine has launched CFL Communications as its principal consultant, working with like-minded bilingual communications experts to provide strategic public affairs advice and products.

Over the past ten... More