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Local campaign school pushing for 50 per cent women elected across the Region

Last Updated Jan 11, 2018 at 6:11 pm EDT

learnhowtorun.com

A group of local women in politics are hoping council chambers look a little different after the next municipal election.

The group is hosting a crash course for women who are thinking about getting their first taste in the political sphere.

It’s called the Waterloo Region Women’s Municipal Campaign School.

Its purpose is to inspire, teach and motivate women who are thinking about venturing into municipal politics.

The school has been around since 2006 and has produced some notable graduates including, MP Bardish Chagger, MPP Catherine Fife, and former Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran.

The goal this year is to have 50 per cent female representation in every municipal council in the region.

Regional Councillor Jane Mitchell says in order for more women to win, they need more women to run.

“Women are 50 per cent of the population and yet women aren’t coming forward to run, if women run, they win just as often as men do.” Said Mitchell.

Mitchell adds that part of the issue is men generally assume they are qualified where as women tend to be more hesitant, “Whoever you are, when you get in, there is a big learning curve the first year, so for a women to say I don’t know enough, well know body knows enough when they start. ” said Mitchell.

Former Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran is a past graduate and now advises hopeful candidates.

Halloran says initially she was hesitant to run, but turned to other women in office, like former Waterloo MPP Elizabeth Witmer and at the time mayor of Mississauga Hazel McCallion, for advise.

Halloran says the campaign process is different for women, “I’m very honest with them I talk about how it’s very difficult to finance a campaign, women still have trouble getting the financial support needed to run a campaign and you have to have thick skin and you have to be ready for criticism.” Said Halloran.

The first day of class is January 27th the second day will be scheduled in March.