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OYL Roots calls for gender parity in the OYL, and achieves it in their own candidate slate.

I thought that today I’d highlight the “newsflash” that I saw over at the OYL Roots website – the slate that is running in the OYL elections in March. Their platform basically calls for greater autonomy and more of a say for the OYL in the Liberal Party. In their newsflash, they announced that their team had reached gender parity amongst their candidate slate, with equal numbers of male and female candidates running for them. They further state that if the whole slate were to be elected, they would become the only gender equal youth executive in the country, which would be both impressive and also show there’s a lot of work to be done.

Furthermore, they stated that the OYL Roots team is not just committed to gender equity in not just words, but action. I was wondering what action they propose, till I got a Facebook email from Rose-Mary Brown – the OYL Roots leader and OYL presidential candidate – to the members of the OYL Roots Facebook group.  In it, she outlines 6 points that the OYL Roots slate would do to achieve gender equity:

1) Updating the Constitution and Governance Manual to specify that DSMs for OYL AGMs require 7 males, 7 females and 1 ex-officio. This will make it 50% easier for females to get elected as a delegate and take part in OYL activities, bringing OYL delegate selection procedures in line with LPC procedures.

2) Formalizing a process that requires that each Regional Coordinator to appoint two area coordinators of the opposite sex and one of the same sex. Thus each male regional coordinator needs to appoint at least two women and one male, and each female Regional Coordinator will appoint two males and one female. This will ensure that there is an equal balance across Regions, as well as ensure an ongoing development of experienced youth, both male and female.

3) Engaging the Ontario Women’s Liberal Commission (OWLC) by inviting their Youth Representative to sit on the OYL Executive as a non-voting member. This will increase communication, participation and effectiveness between the two commissions.

4) Working with the OWLC youth representative on joint policies that affect both commissions. This will strengthen our collective voice in convention campaigns and add to our voting bloc when trying to pass important policies. (example HPV vaccine)

5) Encourage each Student club to elect a Women’s Committee that helps to identify and address barriers to women in politics, undertake gender analysis of public policy, and work with the OWLC, National Women’s Liberal Commission, the OYL Women’s Issues Committee, and the National Young Liberal Women’s Assocation in the effort to engage women in the political process. This will provide a coordinated effort to increase the number of women actively involved in the political sphere.

6) Adding a 4th Signature OYL Event: This one day event will be a forum for OYLers to discuss gender and diversity within the organization, and how it can be used to strengthen our policies, as well as our operations as a whole. This will provide an opportunity for the OYL to continue to strive towards gender equity and diversity, by bringing OYLers together and welcoming outside experts in the fields of gender equity and diversity to speak to OYLers. Additionally, by holding the event in late fall, we can take the time to perform gender analysis on all OYL policies that pass at the Summer Fling.

Very detailed plans. Some may take issue with the first couple of points as claiming you’re instilling quotas, but really, is it any different then what Stephane Dion has been doing to try to increase the number of women running for Parliament in the Liberal Party? The “conventional” means have obviously not worked to address the inequities of the system, so until someone comes up with a better idea for how to end institutionalized inequity, I think this is the best way to go about doing it.

I like seeing detailed plans behind the general goals that political parties and others out there, so I’m pleased to see this put out there. Whether you agree or disagree, you know where the OYLRoots stand on this issue.

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