Role models: This time it’s political

Kathleen Wynne, you’ve given an 8-year-old girl a reason to hope.

She was watching the televised province of Ontario Liberal leadership convention on Saturday and was at least partially engaged in what was playing out on the screen. Early on, she commented: “There are two women running this time. In the last election there was only one.”

“Which one was that?”

“The one with, um, Stephen Harper.” She was referring to Elizabeth May and the federal election.

She remembers these things. This kid’s interested in politics. So her reaction when Wynne won? “Yesssss.”

She may have said something about grrrrrl power, but don’t quote me on that.

Women – and men – of all stripes lauded this historic outcome: a woman, and a lesbian at that, was premier of Ontario for the first time in history.

Armine Yalnizyan ‏@ArmineYalnizyan, senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, tweeted: “As of tonight, women will govern 87.5% of Canadian citizens.” She was referring to the fact that there are now six female provincial premiers in Canada.

Why is this important?

Not so much because there is any difference in the way men and women act when they’re in power. In fact, some would argue that they act remarkably the same in power (think Margaret Thatcher) – you don’t get to the top without being tough, male or female.

Kathleen Wynne herself said that whether she was gay or female was only important insofar as it meant other people who are gay and/or female can look at her and say: there, if she can do it, then I can aspire to it as well.

“It is important to me that young people and people who are frightened see the possibilities,” she said. “And if I can help people to be less frightened, then that’s a wonderful, wonderful thing.”

Read more:

I’ve written before about role models for my daughter – and what seems to be her acceptance of ascribed tasks for men and women (as in which one does the driving, the laundry and such).

So the fact that this child was paying attention and noticed that a woman won a place at the political table with the best of them is fabulous.

Thanks, Kathleen Wynne, for giving her that.


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