Why we remain neutral
In the fall, Women & Politics launched a public campaign for equal representation on City Council – to have 50% of councillors identify as women, and 50% identify as men. Since then, we’ve provided media training, a campaign school, a leadership workshop, and networking events to support women in their various leadership roles in the community and to help candidates prepare for their campaigns.
As we move into the depths of election season, here are a few more ways we’re supporting women candidates:
Q&A with Women & Politics: We’re conducting interviews with all women candidates and will then post the interviews on our website so that the community can get to know the candidates better.
Resource page: We’re developing a new resource page on our website that highlights the key lessons from our campaign school (volunteer coordination, data management, networking, fundraising, etc.) for those who were unable to attend.
All Candidates Meetings in each ward: In partnership with the Urban League of London and the London Community Foundation, we will be hosting all candidates meetings in all 14 wards.
Campaign advice: Our Vice-Chair and campaign expert, Marci Allen-Easton, has sat down with numerous women candidates and provided general advice for their campaigns. All women candidates are invited to connect with her.
We are also consulting with candidates to see if there are other ways we can support candidates in an inclusive way (i.e. offering the support to all candidates). Please stay tuned because there will be more to come.
Many people have asked us about endorsing women candidates to support their campaigns. While this seems like a logical next step in our efforts, we choose not to specifically support any local women candidates. This means our board members (who have various political leanings) and our organization will not endorse any specific local candidates.
Why do we do this?
Women & Politics is a citizen-led grassroots organization based in London. We are a non-partisan organization and provide resources and supports to all women. Our mission is to amplify women’s voices in the realm of politics – it is broader than winning elections. It is for women to engage in politics in the way that makes most sense to them. By endorsing candidates, we could alienate supporters of our organization who don’t agree with a candidate’s views. This could end up causing women to be silent on issues that matter to them – the complete opposite result of what we’re working for.
Being non-partisan sometimes means you must be quiet so that all voices can be heard. That doesn’t mean it’s easy; we would love to endorse candidates and drive more political conversations. But we would be doing a disservice to our organization if we chose to endorse local candidates in an election at any level. By remaining non-partisan we are in the strongest position to advocate on issues that affect all women, and to work toward our mission of amplifying all women’s voices.
We look forward to continuing our work and finding new ways to support all women candidates.
Anne-Marie on behalf of the Board of Women & Politics