Equal Voice, the New Brunswick Chapter, will be hosting a free conference on UNB campus this Saturday, Jan 20.
She Can: Inspiring the Next Generation of Female Leaders, is a free conference that will be held at the Wu Conference Centre from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. this Saturday. While the event focuses on young women, all gender identities are welcome to attend.
The conference aims to inspire and engage young women in politics. There will be panels of various female leaders from New Brunswick that will share their experiences and challenges that they’ve encountered running for office and advocating for issues they’re passionate about.
Hosting the event is Equal Voice, a national, bilingual, multi-partisan organization that is devoted to electing more women into all levels of politics in Canada. Vaishu Anupindi, current chair of Equal Voice’s NB Chapter and lead organizer for the event, says that the New Brunswick chapter is currently focused on identifying and eliminating barriers that women face in politics in the province.
“Through our event, we hope we can convince more young women that politics is an effective and vital medium to advocate for the issues they care about,” says Anupindi.
The keynote speaker for the event is former leader of New Brunswick’s New Democratic Party, Allison Brewer. Her address will be accompanied by a free lunch, which is part of the free conference package.
Dr. Joanna Everitt, the Dean of Arts at UNB Saint John and former chair of the New Brunswick Chapter of Equal Voice, will also be speaking at the event. Everitt says that the involvement of women from all different ethnicities, economic experiences, sexual orientations and abilities is essential to creating a truly representative democracy.
“Women view social issues, economic issues—even issues dealing with sort of international intervention, force and violence and things like this—in a different way than men do,” says Everitt.
“And so, if you only have one group within society making decisions about policies, then you’re only getting one perspective.”
Along with the presentations on politics and networking, attendees will also learn about the challenges women face in pursuing and maintaining leadership roles.
Everitt says that one of the challenges women face in approaching careers in areas such as politics is that not only are they questioned and analyzed on topics that their male counterparts are not—such as appearance and family—but they also often have to be exceptional in their field in order to be deemed qualified.
“That puts a lot of pressure on individuals who are interested and makes them often question whether or not they are worthy of getting involved,” Everitt says.
“So for me, the more role models, the more people who are involved, the more who are not just the exceptional individuals but just the average individuals, the easier it will be for other people to say ‘yes, I can do that too.’”
Photos: UNB Conference Services