Why I think women say no to politics

In 2013, I watched the election campaign of father and son Nick and Paul Ravlich. I liked seeing people who weren’t politicians putting their hand up to make decisions for our city. Councillors always seemed the same and they certainly weren’t hanging out where I did, or making decisions congruent with my priorities. So, in 2016 I thought… ‘I’ll give it a go’ and stand as a Hamilton West candidate.

Apart from wanting to prove that you don’t have to be a rich old white man to be elected, I love this city and want to look after the things that are important to me and my family, like the environment, our community and arts and heritage. I saw local politics as a way of doing that. I changed my mind the day the nomination forms were available… there were lots of reasons – I’ll break them down.

Here are 10 reasons I think women don’t run for council

  1. It looks boring. Have you watched a council meeting?
  2. The vagueness of expected time commitment makes it hard for people with young families to decide if they can do it or not.
  3. We don’t have thousands of dollars to risk on a campaign.
  4. The job is one thing, but putting together a campaign and trying to sell ourselves to strangers is terrifying.
  5. Public speaking
  6. Being vilified in media, abused and threatened while doing ‘our job’. Particularly the stress on our family when this happens.
  7. The other councillors don’t look like ‘my kind of people’.
  8. Even if I do vote one way, the rest will vote against and I won’t be effective. What’s the point?
  9. I’m not sure I want to participate in a broken political system.
  10. Rinse and repeat.

Tomorrow I’ll be meeting with other women who want to change politics, and support other women to campaign in the election. Watch this space.

If you want to come along 10-12pm Saturday May 4th. YWCA Hamilton (Pembroke Street).

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