It’s that time of year again, the time when we reflect on the previous year and resolve to make improvements in the year to come.
Today a lot of us will make resolutions – we will decide to be healthy, to give more, learn more, reduce our waste and on and on the list goes.
What if we could make a resolution to help make real progress in one or all of these areas? Or conversely would we feel comfortable letting someone we don’t know make decisions on the direction our lives will take in the next year? It’s time to add a new resolution to the list – in 2015 let’s all get a little more political!
Here are a few suggestions:
Resolve to take part in London’s Build a Budget process and let this new council know what you see as important. Lots of us may have made the decision this year will be a healthier year or perhaps more specifically we have resolved to bike more. Wouldn’t it be nice to see those healthier choices supported by a strong policy to support bike lane infrastructure? Maybe you want to be greener, would a wet garbage collection help you do that? Maybe you resolved to read more, one item covered under the City budget is funding for Libraries. If you weren’t planning to purchase all those books, let City Council know Libraries are important to you.
Resolve to not only volunteer for charities and causes, but also to advocate for policy changes. Volunteering is a great thing to do but why not take it up a notch and advocate for that charitable cause with your political leaders? If you are giving to homeless shelters let your elected representatives know the way we treat those without permanent residence matters to you!
Resolve to join a party, it’s a great step towards making real change. With most political parties membership allows you to have some influence on party policy, in some cases members are able to choose who will represent them on the ballot. With the Federal election happening this year, this can be incredibly important if we want to see better representation of women (as well as other currently under represented groups in parliament).
Resolve to help out with a campaign. Whether you help put up signs or canvass for a candidate or use your skills in some other way it’s a great way to learn ore about the process and help make change.
Finally, resolve to provide some positive feedback to your elected officials, it can often be a thankless job and tough decisions are going to be made. If you resolved to be a happy more positive person remember to share success stories and words of encouragement to all.
We at Women and Politics are looking forward to 2015, to new challenges, to future successes, and continuing to advocate for more women’s involvement. What will you resolve to do?
Monday night we elected a new council for the City of London but it is important to remember you can help shape the way this City is operated by participating and sitting on a committee or advisory board. The Deadline to apply for Boards, Commissions and Special Committees is November 7th and Advisory Committees is November 13th, if you are interested in being a part of making this City great and learning more about the political processes this is a great place to start. You can find information on the various committees here. We sat down with Nadine Reeves to find out a bit more about her experience on an advisory committee.
Which Committee are you on?
I am a voting member of the London Housing Advisory Committee.
How did you hear about the opportunity?
I heard about the application process through my connections on the Homeless Coalition and the Child & Youth Network.
What made you decide to volunteer?
I’ll be honest, I get a kick out of giving my time. I had been looking for another way to contribute my skills and experience, and I feel strongly that everyone in our community deserves affordable, safe housing, so the Housing Advisory Committee seemed like a natural fit. I also wanted to learn more about municipal affairs.
How much of your time did you have to commit?
Each month I spend about an hour reviewing the meeting package, and the meetings last on average two hours. We’re talking a commitment of three hours a month.
What has been the most rewarding?
Making connections with like-minded people. Also one afternoon during the ReThink London process, the Committee went to the Ark Aid Mission for their coffee time to ask the men and women who were there how they visioned a London in which they wanted to live. It wasn’t surprising that they had a similar vision as me. They also want an inclusive and caring community that is safe. It was one of my favourite-est days ever.
Have there been any challenges?
There was a huge learning curve, but knowledge is power! I swear the first half dozen meetings were in some alien language. Learning the lingo took some time.
What impact has your involvement had on your family?
In terms of time spent away from my family, it’s been minimal. Meetings are held on weekdays over lunch, and both of my children are in school. In terms of spin-off, shortly after I started on the LHAC, I found some info about the Children’s Museum’s Tween Council which is a group of young volunteers that also acts as an advisory panel. My youngest daughter who was 9 at the time was eager to join a Committee – just like her mum, and she still loves her monthly meeting and volunteer gigs. I love that there is an opportunity out there for her to use her voice and experience, and that she, too, is expanding her network (she calls them friends!) and doing her civic duty as a community member.
Anything else you would like to add?
At the beginning, I was really intimidated just walking into City Hall, but now I enjoy strutting through the halls like I totally belong there.
I also enjoy the presentations from City of London staff and community partners. I’ve learned about safety inspections, hoarding, secondary dwelling units, licensing, tenant/landlord rights, and so much more.
And the City of London staff are pretty much super heroes. I really respect the work that they do and their commitment to serve the community. I don’t think they ever get enough credit.
BIO: Nadine Reeves sits on the London Housing Advisory Committee. Through her work at Childreach, she is actively involved in the Ending Poverty priority area of the City’s Child & Youth Network. She also volunteers her time and talent to a new community initiative called Circles – a Bridges out of Poverty program. The rest of her time is spent raising caring kids and knitting. You can find her on twitter as @corazenia and on her blog http://corazenia.wordpress.com .
Our #30Days2Vote challenge is designed to help voters flex their civic engagement muscles. Follow along with us, participating in small, easy-to-complete, daily tasks that will help you prepare for the election.
Spend 30 days learning a little more about the responsibilities of municipal government, the candidates running in your area and their platforms. Gain the confidence you need to head to the polls on October 27.
Much like a 30 days fitness program, you may find yourself more advanced than a particular day’s activity. You may already know some of the information or have completed some of the tasks and that’s great! If this is the case, consider reaching out to someone in your community – a neighbour, a friend, or a coworker – and help them to become more informed and engaged that day.
On October 27 we want to raise the bar on voter turnout. We want you to feel more confident in your vote and have fun along the way!
Our #30Days2Vote challenge is open to anyone and everyone who would like to participate, regardless of gender identity.
Download and share the calendar and poster!
Get caught up!
If you’ve just signed up, and haven’t received tasks from earlier in the month, click through the daily challenge emails here.
Today a nation sat on the edge of its seat, and dared not breathe until collectively we cheered – that moment Poulin scored in overtime after a thrilling 2-0 comeback. And then we all collectively exhaled.
Yesterday, social media feeds were peppered with “play like a girl” memes, and in the days and weeks to come young girls will dream of scoring that goal in 2018, 2022 and beyond.
Today, in this moment in time “Play like a Girl” is seen as a compliment, but it hasn’t always been that way. We got here thanks to the women that came before, who demanded the right to play on the international stage – just like the boys. It wasn’t easy for the pioneers of this sport but they kept skating, they never lost sight of the goal, and they held tightly to the knowledge they had the fundamental right to play. These women will be celebrated, and rewarded as their legacy continues to grow as more and more girls realize: “I can do that”.
The hope of the Women & Politics London members is that someday we will see women’s presence and possibilities valued and reflected in the political arena. That as a community, we will nurture a hunger in girls and women for civic involvement, inspiring young women to think of political participation as something they can do – and do well. I hope we remember to celebrate the amazing women leaders we do have, those that came before them, knowing someday, thanks to their tireless work and amazing qualities, we will say with pride: “lead like a women”.
Congratulations to the Olympic champion women from Canada – you made us proud.