While the #MeToo movement is shifting the dynamic of who is heard, and potentially believed, when it comes to sexual harassment and assault, the behaviour of elected officials with bad judgment will not magically change overnight.? ?
Women are at the behest of their parties and peers to negotiate time away from the House or risk being penalized. It's a position no woman relishes and it has to change.?
But political parties and media establishment be warned—many of the elected women we see today won't settle for the usual games, and with greater numbers, can push back. They know their time has come, they are prepared to publicly call out misogyny in all of its forms, and to leave the field much better than they found it.
Premier Notley is not an outlier in Alberta for her commitment to elevating women, but a wonderful embodiment of an enviable tradition in the province of dynamic leaders who have dared to challenge the status quo, and prevailed.
There is, in all this hand-wringing about Hillary Clinton’s re-emergence, a subtext that politics is really for the boys, and girls are only allowed in when they out-perform and ultimately deliver for the (often male-dominated) troops.
Especially given that the House of Commons is only 27 per cent women. More disconcerting, however, as has been widely reported, women comprise a distinct minority on the overwhelming majority of House of Commons committees where policy choices are rigorously debated.
We can’t rely on surprise elections to deliver more women to politics. Women need to be in competitive ridings, and even better, in party strongholds.
Taking that great leap of faith into the electoral arena is crucial for that voice to really count, and to sustaining a vibrant democracy.