When I went to medical school, there were quotas for women – we made up 20% of the class.
Years later, when I was first elected to Parliament, it seemed like there was a quota again – only about 20% of MPs were women.
Back in 2012, I first met Tina Park at an Inter-Parliamentary Union assembly in Quebec, and we noticed just how few female parliamentarians were in attendance.
Together, we decided to do something about it, and created the U of T Women in House program to help encourage more outstanding young women to take an interest and get involved in politics. Modeled after a similar event organized by McGill University, the program invites female students to spend a day in Ottawa shadowing MPs and Senators.
In February 2013, we welcomed our first group of 20 students, and we have expanded to include even more students and parliamentarians in every year since!
Last night, I was thrilled to welcome this year’s group of students to Parliament Hill – including the inspiring Alexandra Johnston, who spent today shadowing me and my team!