Jillian LeBlanc: Daughters of the Vote

Almost a century ago, Canada made a historic decision to extend the right to vote to some Canadian women. Though it wouldn't be until decades later that all women would be able to vote in our country, this was a milestone in women's suffrage. Equal Voice has created an incredibly exciting event called Daughters of the Vote which will happen on March 8th. The purpose of this event is to have one young woman from every federal riding sit in the House of Commons to discuss issues related to them.

I was lucky enough to sit down with Jillian LeBlanc, the social media and youth engagement coordinator for Equal Voice. She's a fourth year student in honours communication and public administration.  Originally from northwest British Columbia, she's been with Equal Voice for over a year now.

Her Campus uOttawa: Can you tell the readers of Her Campus about Equal Voice?
Jillian LeBlance:
Equal Voice is a multipartisan organization that supports women in politics. Since being founded in 2001, this organization creates networks of women who share a passion for politics regardless of political beliefs and amplifies the collective strength of women in government. There are chapters all across the country, including two in Ontario. There is definitely a desire to see Equal Voice grow. The University of Ottawa has a very active branch.

HCuO: Why is it important for youth, especially young women, to be involved in politics?
At the federal level of government, only 26% of representatives are women. We might not see gender parity in the government for a very long time due to slow levels of improvement with representation. The government and the policies it makes affects our lives. Why are decisions being made when not everyone is included at the table? We also need to remember the importance of intersectionality when it comes to who makes the big decisions in government. Young women are often painted as not being engaged in politics but Equal Voice wants to address and overcome obstacles to young women's political engagement.

HCuO: Can you tell the readers about what Daughters of the Vote is? What aspects of this project excites you the most?
: March 8th has historical significance as it marks 100 years since some women were granted the right to vote. We are going to fill the House of Commons entirely with young women from across the country. Daughters of the Vote is creating Canada wide networks of women who are engaged in politics. We hope to create a ripple network where women return to their communities and encourage other young women to engage in politics. 338 women have been selected out of 1500 applicants to sit in the House of Commons. If you have applied to Daughters of the Vote, you will have received news by December 10th.

HCuO: How can people get involved with Equal Voice this year?
We have campus chapters of Equal Voice and the National Capital Region chapter that you can get involved in. If you aren't one of the 338 women selected to be a delegate in Daughters of the Vote, you can still volunteer. We're always looking for volunteers in a number of positions. You can also get involved by following us on social media including Facebook and Twitter. Visit our website to keep up to date with news about talks, articles, studies and more. If you are interested in starting a chapter of Equal Voice, contact [email protected]. If you want to be a member of Equal Voice, it only costs $10 for students. Being a member puts you on mailing lists, gives you the opportunity to network and attend interesting events.

HCuO: Justin Trudeau made headlines when he summed up the need for gender equality in the federal cabinet with the simple phrase "because it's 2015." What does the Canadian government need to work on now "because it's 2016"?
We applaud PM Trudeau for his 50/50 cabinet. We are excited about other gender firsts including seeing female House Leaders and the Leader of the Opposition, Rona Ambrose. We see there is an effort to include women in prominent house roles. We can still do more though. Even if women decide to not run for government, they still need to have their voices heard behind the scenes. Parties need to foster environments where women are welcome.

HCuO: Anything else you would like the readers of Her Campus to know?
Keep an eye out for live tweets and streaming from Equal Voice and Daughters of the Vote. Follow the conversations about women in politics on social media. Also, get involved! There are a lot of positive spaces in politics. Like I said earlier, Equal Voice supports all women in politics. We are always open to any feedback and if you have questions, contact us.

Thank you so much to Equal Voice for all the hard work you do. Best of luck with Daughters of the Vote!


Sources and Photo Credits: Equal Voice graphics