Remarks originally delivered at the London’s Women’s March on January 22, 2017 by Suze Morrison.
I want to talk to you today about why we need more women in politics.
The United Nations has a bench mark. It’s a threshold of women in power that is needed for our issues, our needs, to be properly addressed in policy and decision making. This minimum representation is 30 per cent. In Canada, on average, whether you are looking at municipal, provincial, or federal levels of government, women only make up 25 per cent of our elected officials. In Canada, we are not meeting a minimum requirement in our government to ensure women’s issues are adequately represented.
When policy and decisions are made without us, they can not be informed by the realities of womanhood. By the realities and the lived experiences of my sisters who are not just women, but Indigenous women, Black women, immigrant women, women with disabilities, Queer Women, Trans Women, and two-spirted. Our voices – your voices – are needed. They are required.
If we have learned anything from our southern neighbours, it is that we can not rest. We can not pause. We can not say that 25 percent is enough. Because if we don’t keep fighting to gain equitable ground, the very ground underneath us will slip away and we will find ourselves moving backwards.
Backwards towards policy that excludes us, that seeks to take away our rights, and that minimizes the intersectional struggle of so many of our sisters.
My first ask of you today – is to run.
And, while I hope this call to arms is one that the young girls in this crowd will hear, I also know we can not wait for the next generation to stand up and stand in their power. Our work starts now, and I want every woman in this crowd to know that your voice is needed. That you can and should run. That you have the qualifications. That your lived experience makes you a better, stronger, leader. And that we need you.
I want every woman here, to silence any voices you hear that give you any seed of doubt. Know that you are powerful, and that you have every tool you need within you. And, that your sisters – your community – will stand with you when the time comes for you to put your name forward and say “It’s my turn.”
My second ask of you all today – is to ask her.
We know, that a woman needs to be asked three times more than a man before she will put her name forward for a nomination. Think of all the brilliant, passionate, loving women in your lives, and think about how much better our city, our province or our country would be with her in a position of power and influence.
Ask her. Ask her often. Ask her sincerely. Ask her from your hearts. Remind her constantly that even though the world eats away at her confidence in little slices and micro aggressions, that even though the world will try to grab her by the pussy, and even though the she will be constantly reminded of her ‘place’, that she is enough, that she can be successful, and she has a place – and it’s at the top.
My third and final ask of you today – is to vote.
Vote for her. Volunteer on her campaign. Help amplify her voice so she can in turn, amplify yours.
And I’m not here asking you to vote for a woman just because she is a woman. But because she can represent you in ways that men like President Cheeto to the south can not. Even men with the best of intentions, who are our best allies do not know what it’s like to walk in our shoes, and live in our lives. To live in a world where 1 in 3 of our sisters will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. To struggle to access healthcare. To survive in a time where our bodies are considered public property. To live with the heartbreak that 1,200 missing and murdered Indigenous women is not a priority of our government, because our government is not made up of women.
Today, I know many of us are in mourning. Many of us are triggered and hurting beyond words. And while I know we need space and time to honour that, I also know that as I look out at the crowd of women here today, and at marches of women across the globe, that we are powerful beyond measure.
Never, in my lifetime have I seen women unite on this scale. Carry this energy beyond today. Run. Ask her to run. And when the time comes, support her in every way you can.