I am Megan, a brand new face to Antigone, but excited to be starting up a new column here focusing on the female political leaders. Political Mavens will be talking to the women who are hard working within government to get something done about feminist issues, among many other things.
Introducing our first change-maker: Mira Hall
Mira Hall (Yellowknife, NT – pictured RIGHT) is studying political economics and pursuing a career in policy development relating to food security and affordable housing. Mira is employed at the Centre for Northern Families where she provides a range of family support and community outreach services. Mira was once roommates with Antigone Magazine Editor Amanda Reaume when they were both delegates to the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women. This past fall, Mira ran for School Trustee in Yellowknife District 1 and won!
1. How and why did you get involved in politics?
I have always been politically active. My mother is an activist and she always encouraged me to be involved in the work that she was doing, or work that she saw others doing that she supported. I think that I was reluctant for a long time out of rebelliousness. At the end of the day I really care about community, about reducing marginalization, and I’m too passionate to stay away from politics.
2. Why do you think women should get involved in politics?
I think that women are the best qualified to represent women’s perspectives in government. For too long we have trusted that our male counterparts could represent our interests when they shape the policy that shapes our lives, but they haven’t been women so they couldn’t possibly have as deep an understanding of what our interests are as we do.
This was illustrated to me vividly during a forum during the last territorial election. Candidates were asked why they thought women weren’t participating in trades and non-traditional employment and how they as MLAs would encourage women’s economic participation in the lucrative employment opportunities provided by mining, oil and gas. The only candidate who pointed out that mothers aren’t often able to find childcare for the full two weeks that a standard camp rotation would be and that many mothers be unwilling to leave their children for two weeks out of every month was a mother of three.
3. What issue do you see as particularly important for women?
I think women’s economic independence is the number one issue for me, and that many other issues that women face are a direct result of their economic dependence. There is a persistent wage gap between men and women in Canada, and women are still structurally excluded from some types of employment.
The other issues that rank highly for me are violence against women, child apprehension, and the feminization of poverty.
4. Have you ever experienced any discrimination as a woman in politics? If so, describe your experiences and how you handled them.
Any discrimination that I notice is pretty subversive, and is rarely directed right at me in my presence. Although I notice that it seems to be women who are hardest on me and on other female candidates. I hear women calling female candidates things like “bitch,” “crazy,” “slut” and “shit-disturber,” generally when I hear the comments about male politicians and candidates the worst is “crazy” or “useless.” It makes me sad that women aren’t more supportive of each other.
It reminds me (as someone who is not affiliated to any party) of how leftists cling to the idea that Conservatives are “anti-woman” but in Canada they can claim the first female Prime Minister, and in the US they ran Sarah Palin. Leftist women are the first to say “well, they don’t really count” for whatever reason, and yet the “pro-woman” parties don’t even give us women “who don’t count.” They just keep feeding us “pro-woman” men. I’m really hoping that there is drastic change coming and that women step up and are supported by their parties and their communities.
5. What issues are you passionate about?
I suspect that all of my passions can be boiled down to “reducing marginalization.” I think that every school should be reflective of all the populations that share our community. Every school should be inclusive for girls and boys, for people with varying “ability,” for a variety of ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds, and for fluid identities within those demographics. And not only should our schools be reflective of our multifaceted society, but our neighborhoods too, and our workplaces!
6. What is your dream for women?
My dream is to live in a world where each person can be both proud of their own culture, identity, and place in society as well as be loving and accepting of those who are different.
7. What advice do you have for young women?
Keep your chin up and know that no one can represent you or your demographic better than you! Change the world, and keep pushing!