Approaching the 100th anniversary of the election of BC’s first woman Member of the Legislative Assembly in 2018, the author reflects on some of the achievements of the first 100 women MLAs elected in the province. She notes that these women have often proven to be excellent role models for young people aspiring to a career in politics and public service.
With 36 per cent of its MLAs now women, British Columbia currently has the highest proportion of women parliamentarians in Canada. Moreover, women hold key decision-making positions in the province as Lieutenant Governor, Premier and Speaker. While celebrating these milestones, in this article, B.C. Speaker Linda Reid warns against complacency and urges parliamentarians across Canada and the Commonwealth to continue implementing changes designed to facilitate a level playing field for women interested in political life. She provides several examples of innovations which have contributed to the province’s success at bolstering the number of women representatives and improving the quality of their work life in politics.
The last two decades have witnessed a decline in voter turnout, most noticeably among young voters. During this same period, the use of cell phones and digital and social media has increased dramatically. Effective use of social media tools has the exciting potential to connect young voters with political decision-makers and to help rebuild the relationship between citizens, elected officials and parliamentary democracy. This article offers some new ideas about how to engage with young people.
Before turning to how a variety of social media tools can be used to engage voters, I would like to quickly sketch out the challenges we face engaging young people and getting them out to vote.