It wasn’t all that long ago when there were valid concerns being raised over the fact that not very many women in the Kivalliq region seemed to be interested in being involved in municipal politics.
Since that time, there’s been a fairly steady increase in the number of Kivalliq women seeking office at the municipal, territorial and national levels.
This time out, while no woman was elected mayor, three vied for the position across the region and no less than 25 of the 56 council seats up for grabs were won by female candidates.
Not quite parity, but a good sign for more female involvement in the future, especially when you consider all three candidates for Nunavut in the recent federal election were female.
Add to that the fact two of the three federal candidates had strong ties to the Kivalliq, with Nunavut’s newest member of parliament, Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, hailing from Baker Lake.
Different candidates for the various levels of political office run for their own personal reasons but, let’s be clear, those who are elected quite often become role models for the younger set of female youth in their home community and beyond.
To that fact; in addition to bringing a different and valuable perspective to the offices or council seats they’re elected to, they encourage female youth to take a more-focused look at the political scene.
In turn, that, as with any natural progression, leads to the youth having a better understanding of government and the roles played by those elected to office, whether at the local hamlet council level, as a territorial member of the legislative assembly, or as a member of parliament at the national level.
That better understanding of the roles played in governance can often combine with a stronger connection female youth are likely to have with members of their own sex involved in politics to, quite possibly, spark an interest in taking on a leadership role and one day planting their own flag on the political landscape.
To that end, the continued higher participation of the region’s female population for publicly-elected office will not only result in stronger hamlet councils across the Kivalliq; it will also encourage more female youth to get involved with politics and help to ensure stronger female representation in the years and decades to come.
There can be no doubt the distorted but long-held belief that politics are the domain of males in the Kivalliq is finally beginning to fade and that will, eventually, lead to much stronger hamlet councils in the future – councils with more varied perspectives on their communities and a more balanced view on a hamlet’s needs and how to address them.
The increase in female involvement on the political scene is also one of the reasons behind the revival of a number of student councils in the region, along with the more active approach to school leadership the students on these councils are taking.
More of a concerted effort into bringing our political personalities – at all levels – into our classrooms and to other youth groups and meetings is essential to ensure the growing rate of female involvement continues.
Make no mistake about it, further female involvement with equate to stronger hamlet councils in the future.
And, stronger hamlet councils will result in stronger Kivalliq communities.
Food for thought.