Left to right: Cathy Golden, MP Wai Young, Erin Kizell, Pamela Martin, Dr. Tracy Ames, MLA Selina Robinson, Jes Simkin, Maya Russell, Enav Zusman, Eleanor Millar, MP Dr. Hedy Fry and Karen James. (photo by Lianne Cohen)
On Nov. 13, Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC) hosted its second annual Women in Politics event at Congregation Schara Tzedeck, bringing together a multi-partisan group of more than 40 community members of all ages, genders and cities to learn more about what it is like to be a woman in politics.
Inspiring stories were shared and thoughtful questions were posed throughout the evening as the moderators and committee members, some of whom are graduates of CJPAC’s Fellowship program, helped facilitate the conversations.
“Events such as these are a key part of CJPAC’s mandate to mobilize and engage Jewish and pro-Israel Canadians in the democratic process and increase political participation,” said committee member Karen James. “I think that it is especially important to increase the political engagement of women in our community because we often bring a different perspective to the issues.”
Participants gathered in small groups and met with MPs Dr. Hedy Fry and Wai Young, MLA Selina Robinson, Pamela Martin, Maya Russell and Eleanor Millar. These women spoke about life as an elected official or political staffer and the unique challenges often faced by women in this milieu.
“Listening to those wonderful, powerful women talk about the path they took in life and how they ended up where they are today was inspiring and motivational. As a young woman at the beginning of my career, I learned a lot from participating in the event,” said Enav Zusman, one of the moderators.
Erin Kizell, another of the evening’s moderators, noted, “The women who spoke at the CJPAC event really showed why political engagement is important. It doesn’t require the full-time commitment of being an elected official or political staffer – even just a few hours of volunteer work can make a huge difference. What’s most important is that we all get involved to ensure that our voices are heard.”
CJPAC recently opened a new office in Vancouver and will be hosting events into the new year and in advance of the 2015 federal election. CJPAC can offer guidance on how to volunteer on a campaign of your choice, and can organize volunteer training sessions for your staff, students, board or sports team. To learn more, contact Kara Mintzberg, CJPAC B.C. regional director, at [email protected] or 604-343-4126.