Raising awareness of women in politics
December 12, 2018
Two King’s Political Science students, Ellie Kozak and Kelsey Dallaire, recently had the opportunity to shadow Federal Members of Parliament in the House of Commons as part of the Women in House program in Ottawa.
Kozak and Dallaire were among 25 students from Western and the affiliate campuses who visited Ottawa from November 21-23, 2018 with the actual shadowing taking place on November 22. The Women in House program seeks to raise awareness of the roles women play in politics, as well as offer the opportunity to learn about the ways women can get connected and involved at any political level.
Kozak, in her third year of an Honours Double Major in Social Justice and Peace Studies and Political Science, shadowed Kate Young, Liberal MP for London West. Dallaire, in her fourth year of an Honours Specialization in Political Science, shadowed Stephanie Kusie, Conservative MP for Calgary Midnapore.
Other local area MPs taking part in the Women In House program included Irene Mathyssen and Karen Vecchio.
Dallaire says she applied “because of the compelling benefits and influence it can have over my professional career as a woman pursuing politics.” Kozak said her motivation to participate “stemmed from my passion for policy advocacy. I felt that the opportunity to shadow a female MP would allow me more insight into a profession that works directly with advocacy and policy.”
Both students attended meetings, watched a Question Period in the House of Commons, had an opportunity to network, and saw a day in the life of an MP.
“Overall, it was a very busy and educational day,” Dallaire says. “Being in the environment I hope to work in was very exciting and it only made me realize how much more I want to pursue a career wherein I can create change and advocate for individuals who cannot themselves. Seeing and hearing about all of these experiences was very empowering and insightful for a woman who is looking to pursue a career in political science.”
“From this experience, I learned about the multiple avenues that I can take to be involved in politics,” Kozak says. “My day on the hill allowed me to meet individuals who are engaged with advocacy and policy and gave me insight into future career options. This opportunity clarified for me that you do not always have to be in the spotlight in order to make change, rather there are thousands of people behind the scenes that do incredible work in advocacy.”