Here is a collection of stories from our March “Women Who Inspire” event.
The woman I have met in my education career who are mothers of children of autism. Not only do these women juggle career, family and self, they are faced with challenges often beyond their control each and every day. These women have become advocates, professors, and support systems to others mothers with children on the spectrum. These women even do this on their own and with very little interaction and support from the outside. Their love for their children is inspirational. They are my heroes.
I find I admire women more than I am inspired by them. Most women I am exposed to in real life are full of fear, who aspire to get married, get a house, have children. I can’t relate, I don’t live in fear and am usually the inspiration for others as a result. I am looking to be inspired by women in real life and in my community and thought Women & Politics would be a good start. So far, Shawna has inspired me to show up….so, so far, so good! Thank you for hosting this event, I look forward to more. – Jennifer
Michelle Landsberg – I am too young to really remember her advocacy in the 70s but recently read “Writing the Revolution” – a really terrific look back at the bravery of our early feminists who moved the needle in journalism! She made it easier for us all.
Margaret H who at 100 published her first book (2016) “Call Me Ma’am” about her time during the second world war as a psychologist helping recruit women into the Canadian Army. – Dharshi
My mom – She got her Master’s Degree P/t while raising 5 children. At 50 she decided to go to school full – time to get her PhD. She graduated at 55 & went on to teach World Politics at the University of Windsor and she did this all while married to my dad a reluctantly supportive chauvinist. – Marnie
Charlotte Montgomery who was my boss and mentor 41 years ago. I will never forget Charlotte sharing that when the men went to World War II there were only women to do the men’s work and as soon as the men returned the women were sent back to be housewives, Teachers or Nurses. Charlotte did teach for many years and then started as a Teller at the CIBC and worked her way up to Assistant manager, Benefits Department. When I worked with Charlotte I don’t recall any women managers. I think she paved the way for many managers and women U.P.’s to come. – Louise
My sister who, despite being recruited by the company itself, overcame a reputation of only getting the job to fill a quota of women employees. Not only does she now lead her team, she is by far one of the best computer programmers I know. Oh, did I mention she achieved all these goals in her career while also raising two small children by herself? When I think of the term “Super Woman” or “Super Mom” I think of Julie. – Janice
Shawna Lewkowitz for supporting & making spaces for women of all types in so many ways, but especially via founding Women & Politics London – Laura
My mom because she’s constantly pushing me to try new things and speak up for myself – Beah
Me – I say myself as I’ve kept on keeping on despite the cards dealt. I don’t see plenty of women of colour in political leader roles so I teach my children that they can, even if I don’t reach politics. 12 years ago I was addicted to crack cocaine and came to London with $10 in my pocket and a knapsack on my back and 6 months pregnant. In 4 months, my partner and I secured our place and our children were returned to us. Since then I’ve worked our way up. Still have a long way to go but I am not where I was and that is just part of the story! Also, not enough women of colour are represented. – Toni
My Mum – I spoke to her brilliance and resilience in her campaign for NDP representative, but to say that was what inspired me wouldn’t do her justice. It was AMAZING yes, but it’s so much more. She strives to live her life as an example for my sister and I. She volunteers, she works, she speaks. She is my superhero. Every day she does her best for my family, for her community and for herself. How flippin’ cool is that? – Gabriella
My friend Vanessa. She is a woman who has overcome so much. Poverty, adoption, colourization, mental health, addictions, housing insecurity and more. I watch her raise her beautiful family with so much love and grace. I see her developing into a young leader in the community with passion. I am always inspired by how she does all of this and grounds herself in what she’s overcome and she uses it to give herself strength instead of just putting it in the past and burying it. Our worst days give us what we need to create our most beautiful ones. – Suze
Marnie Sherritt – one of the three founders of Project 88. Our goal was to elect more women to City Council. In our 20-year work, we moved to 40% women on City Council. Marnie was always there, making muffins for our “How to run for elected office”, doing registrations, obtaining lists of candidates, mailing invitations to candidates. In fact, she did all the slug work while being absolutely reliable – and she still is.
My Daughter – who calls out gender based violence in her grade 5 class even when it isolates her. – Jodi
I am inspired by my teacher because she is nice.
My mother lost her mom when she was young and was moved into C.A.S and moved from home to home, eventually running away and living on the streets, homeless and finding meals in dumpsters. She quit school in grade 9 to work to get money to eat. She got pregnant at 17. She married and had two more kids, then divorced and worked so hard to make ends meet. She did whatever she could to not only make sure we had what we needed but often it was not unusual to see other kids from the neighbourhood at our house for dinner or staying for a week, month, even longer when their parents were going through problems. She was a tough mom but only when we needed it. She worked during the day and did school at night to earn her degree. She also made sure she gave back to the community, telling us it was her job to set an example for us; she has coached more than 100 kids competitive soccer, was the first female head coach of a club and many other firsts in the soccer world. She is also a very strong advocate for people who live in poverty, especially women. Every month she puts aside $50 and quietly picks one women in London who needs a hand and helps them. Last month it was a young girl going back to school who needed school supplies, the month before a young mom whose son was very ill in the hospital — she paid all of her parking. This and so very much more makes my mom my (and many others’) number one inspiration!! – Sarah
My Mom – my first example of what it looks like to be a leader. – Jodi
We had our first Young Women and Politics workshop in April at the Northwest Resource Centre. 24 girls and young women came together to learn about politics, socialize and meet local female politicians. Participants were asked to write a blog post to reflect on their experiences. Here are posts from two of the amazing young women who attended.
My experience at the Young Women and Politics Session
My experience at the Young Women and Politics session was amazing. There are so many reasons why this session was a very tremendous experience for me. I have gone to many workshops for young women and how to feel confident, but Women and Politics really showed a perspective on inner beauty. The beauty of leadership. As many will know, being a leader is a very difficult task when it comes to politics for women. But this workshop was eye-opening in terms of options for young women in politics. A big part for me at this session was how they talked about the word “Feminist.” This word at first may be scary to some people. It was for me at first — until Women & Politics. They’ve really showed me that this word only means equality. Equality in the sense of being equal between men and women. I found it eye-opening to see that a word that sounds so strong could be just a simple well-known fact to me. Ever since I’ve heard that, I’ve been telling people that I’m a feminist and that is something I thought I would never say. Another big aspect that really caught my attention was “Breaking through barriers.” This was a big part that stuck with me even after the session was done. After hearing that term, I was really starting to see the barriers that occurred everyday that I wouldn’t have seen if I hadn’t been to the workshop. Everyday stuff, like how I noticed that my gym teacher picks boys to be team leaders and not girls. This really caught my eye and I was surprised to see it. In summary, Women and Politics demonstrated that being a leader and confidence is the best beauty a girl can have. -Christina Keane Sanchez (13)
Turning 25% into 50%
I went to the “Young Women and Politics” event last weekend and I thought it would be good just to have some background knowledge on politics but I actually learned so much! I learned that there are no lines like everyone thinks there is to get involved in politics, what the real– not what society thinks — meaning of a feminist or feminism is, what it’s like to be a politician as a woman and how we can get in involved. There is no line between politicians and “regular people”; you can call your local MP and talk about how you can get involved helping out with your community and move up from there.
“The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” Society thinks that we want to be better than men but the definition says “equality to men.” We don’t want to be compared to men like, “Oh you can’t go into politics, that’s for a man.” Even if those aren’t the exact words, it’s implied. Only 25% of the politicians are women. I would definitely go to something like this again and I encourage other girls to come out as well so we can turn that 25% into 50%! – Georgia Harrington