February 10, 2023 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

On February 10, students from the Women in Civic Leadership (SJPS/POL 3320E) course took part in a panel discussion with women city councillors at London City Hall.

"This panel is a unique opportunity for students to be in conversation with women political leaders and ask them directly about their experiences, gain insight about what brings women and gender diverse people to political leadership, and have the students develop connections to their city representatives,” says Shawna Lewkowitz, Lecturer of Social Justice and Peace Studies.

The panel included:

  • Ward 4 Councillor Susan Stevenson
  • Ward 7 Councillor Corrine Rahman
  • Ward 9 Councillor Anna Hopkins 
  • Ward 11 Councillor Skylar Franke '13
  • Ward 12 Councillor Elizabeth Peloza 

The councillors gave a brief introduction, were asked a couple of questions about their experiences, and then opened the floor to questions from the students.

“By hosting the class at City Hall, students were able to enter the halls where political decisions that affect them are made and develop a better understanding of how the city operates. The hope is that it demystifies some of the power dynamics at play with politics, enables students to engage in local initiatives more effectively, and also encourages women and gender diverse students consider a future in local government,” says Lewkowitz.

As an alumna, Franke found the experience of being able to speak to King’s students about how City Hall can address issues in the community to be “very rewarding.”

“King’s was an incredible space for me to learn, grow and become engaged in local issues. My time at King’s was the foundation for my understanding of social justice and environmental issues in London. Now, as a City Councillor I have the opportunity to try and address these issues at the municipal level. I hope through these types of sessions more King’s grads will feel excited to stay in London to work after they graduate, and more women and gender diverse folks will choose to run for office,” says Franke.

Women in Civic Leadership is a collaboration of Social Justice and Peace Studies and Politics and International Relations at King’s and Political Science at Brescia University College.  The class has women and gender diverse mentors from across London paired with students for the year and, in class explores different dimensions of intersectional gendered civic leadership. The class is taught by Lewkowitz, Dr. Jacquetta Newman, Professor of Politics and International Relations at King’s and Susan Hillis, Faculty of Political Science at Brescia University College.