I would like to be the first of many. Becoming the first woman elected to the House of Commons for Thunder Bay-Superior North and its first female Cabinet Minister has been one the greatest honours of my life. But the fact that it took until 2015 for a woman to be elected here shows there is still a lot of work left to do for us to reach gender equality. I am part of the 26 per cent of women elected to Parliament last election. And across the country, only 28 per cent of municipal councillors and only 18 per cent of mayors are women.
Looking to the future, I hope there will be many more female MPs to represent this incredible riding. The fact is, we’re still being held back by gender stereotypes and discrimination. While we’ve made great progress, enhancing women’s economic security and prosperity, increasing their participation in our democratic institutions and ending violence against women and girls, are just some of the challenges that remain.
We’re celebrating this International Women’s Day on March 8th with the theme “Equality Matters.” When we harness the talent of all Canadians, we are stronger for it. When we foster a more inclusive society, we all benefit. We all have a role to play in advancing gender equality in our country.
Gender equality is a top priority for our government and we are committed to achieving it across all sectors of society. That’s why this International Women’s Day we’re partnering with Equal Voice, an organization dedicated to empowering young women, to host “Daughters of the Vote”. Young women, aged 18-23, from all 338 ridings across the country have been selected to come to Ottawa and “take their seat” in Parliament. Thunder Bay-Superior North’s Abbie Rolf von den Baumen is an amazing young leader currently in her final year of Chemical Engineering at Queen’s University. She is passionate about the issues in our riding and I have no doubt she will continue to be a great leader for Thunder Bay-Superior North.
I encourage everyone to get involved on social media and to use the hashtag #EqualityMatters. Tell us why Equality Matters, why it is so important to break down gender stereotypes, tag a person who inspires you and share our mythbusters!
All around the world men and women are joining the movement to make gender equality a reality once and for all. Join us.
Hon. Patty Hajdu
MP Thunder Bay-Superior North
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour