Absolute Equality

Absolute Equality -

Being a woman in politics

There’s a whole lot going on these days, and I really don’t know what to say about any of it. Not sure if I should say anything. I feel rather unqualified. I haven’t faced much, if any, harassment.

On the Hill I worked for a party that was very aware of gender politics and made a point of recognizing parity as part of its constitution. I worked with a wide variety of people – all genders, all orientations, different backgrounds, religions, colours. Everyone was more or less heard.

I worked mainly in my own office, without exposure to the greater political environment. I was protected and safe.

But I was not blind.

Our current Minister of Justice has displayed sexism in the past. Snide comments are made. Women are shouted over, they are told that they shriek. They are told they need to be more ladylike. They are judged for their dress and their style. Women are supposed to be meek, nice, we are meant to succumb to the majority and not push issues.

I’m not too good at that. The whole ‘putting up with other people’s shit’ thing.

I have been glad to have learned from other women who worked in politics and probably took up that attitude as a result of facing a whole lot of that shit. I don’t know their histories or experiences.

I have never been a victim, which makes me lucky, but it also means that I don’t know what that’s like, don’t know how I would react and don’t know how I would feel about other people reacting to my situation.

My friend Annie (@phdinparenting) said it very well – there are helpers and there are fixers. Fixers want to just make it better as soon as possible without delving too deep into the situation. Justin Trudeau is a fixer – he was presented with a situation and jumped immediately to a solution. I think I would also be considered a fixer. But helping is a much better way to address what’s happening right now.

I think it’s unrealistic to ask each victim how they want each individual situation addressed, especially in a case where you are dealing with two separate political parties and influence in the House is directly effected. There is so much at play here that it’s almost impossible to have one way be the right way to deal with a situation.

Maybe things will change now. Maybe things will get better. Maybe the people who are blind to the problem will stay blind. Who knows?

Ever forward.

The Hill

Parliament Hill has been reopened to the public after Wednesday’s shootings and I couldn’t be happier to hear the news.

People who have never been to Ottawa, and certainly people from outside of Canada don’t understand what this space is.

The Parliament buildings surround pathways and two large lawn spaces. Parliament Hill belongs to us, the people of Canada, and we use it like our town square here in Ottawa. People gather there.

We’re allowed there to celebrate, protest and mourn.

When Jack Layton died and people in Ottawa wanted to pay tribute, we all ended up on the hill. It’s the most obvious place to express ourselves. Today, the Saturday after the shootings, the first day that the Hill has been open since it happened, people went down and milled around, took pictures. We did.

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It’s a beautiful place. It’s a public space. If we were to lose that, that would be a terrible end to this tragedy.

(cross-posted from amyboughner.ca)