By Roxanne Dumoulin
On March 8, 2017, more than 30 uOttawa students were among the 338 young Canadian women, one representing each federal riding, who made their way to Parliament Hill and took the seat of their MP in the House of Commons. Held on International Women’s Day, the event filled the House with more women at one time than has ever been seen there before — 20 more, in fact, than all women ever elected throughout Canada’s history.
The purpose of this event, known as Daughters of the Vote (DOV), was not only to highlight the political journey made by Canadian women since the first wave of women earned the right to vote 100 years ago but also to encourage more Canadian women to run for office at the municipal, provincial, territorial and federal levels. Organized by Equal Voice, together with the Government of Canada and a number of other partners, the event brought together young women of different political affiliations to discuss various socio-economic realities.
As evidenced by the frank discussions among delegates and passionate speeches given in the House, one thing is very clear — solidarity and respect cross party lines. The issues they discussed raised the question of systemic barriers that remain and must be openly acknowledged in order to ensure greater participation by women who have been historically marginalized due to their race, religion or sexual orientation or due to a visible or invisible handicap.
"Daughters of the Vote afforded us an incredible opportunity to engage with an amazing group of female politicians and brilliant and driven young women. For most of us, this experience opened our eyes to the numerous challenges women face in politics and, perhaps more importantly, provided us with some tools to help overcome these challenges. One thing is very clear — together, we form a supportive community that wants to see gender parity in Canadian politics in the years to come."
— Roxanne Dumoulin | Represented home riding of Drummond (QC) | MA in Public and International Affairs
"I was part of a historic event that I believe will encourage many more women to get involved in what has been traditionally viewed as a man’s world and really make a difference. We’ve already seen big changes brought about by small actions in our communities. We’re strong, we’re independent and, more importantly, we speak for those whose voices are not heard. We can’t just snap our fingers and become the next Rosa Parks, but we’re the first Daughters of the Vote to see so many women gather together here inside the House of Commons on Parliament Hill."
— Charlie-Ann Dubeau | Home riding of Pontiac; represented the Quebec riding of Richmond–Arthabaska | Licentiate in Civil Law (LLL) and Honours BSocSc in International Development and Globalization