Women’s Campaign School: what we learned
On Saturday close to 40 Londoners come out to our first Women’s Municipal Campaign School at Goodwill Industries to learn about the ins and outs of running and volunteering in a Municipal campaign.
With the leadership of experienced City politicians Joni Baechler, Judy Bryant and Gina Barber, we heard about the importance of communicating your candidacy, the logistics of running a campaign, fundraising ideas, legal requirements and more.
Members of the media were also present to give tips on dealing with the press. Candidates also had the opportunity to participate in mock media interviews.
For me, it was especially wonderful to see many new faces in the room and a balanced representation of men and women. Many familiar faces of were present, but there were also fresh people who were interested in learning more about how to become involved in a municipal campaigns. The connecting and sharing between all of these participants was key to the event’s success.
Perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of the training was the opportunity to ask questions of the many women political leaders in the room. In London, we are fortunate to have a wealth of women politicians who are willing to share their time and experiences with other women.
Many campaign school participants commented on how helpful it was to be able to talk one-on-one with women who had been there and done that.
As a Women’s Campaign School looking at campaigning through a gendered lens, the realities of being a woman in politics came up frequently.
Many challenges were acknowledged and yet the best examples of how these can be overcome came from the many successful women politicians in the room. In their stories they exemplified how standing strong in your values, surrounding yourself with people who support you and not getting distracted by your detractors is key to succeeding. I know that their stories inspired many and served as an example of those who have paved the way for others.
The team at Women & Politics believes that when women support one another and work to amplify each other’s voices, we can change things for the better. We can stand behind one another, not because we always agree but because we believe that diverse women’s voices need to be heard.
Our Women’s Municipal Campaign School obviously didn’t solve all the barriers to women’s participation in politics, but we hope it was one small step towards helping women in succeed in our community.