As of this year, women have been able to vote in the province for 100 years – an historic milestone the Legislative Assembly of Ontario is celebrating.
The provincial parliament is marking the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote with a unique program designed to empower women leaders and commemorate the suffrage movement. Parliamentarians are seeking 107 young women, one from each riding in Ontario, to represent their communities at a special celebration on April 12.
The day-long event is open to young women 18 to 23 years of age who live in Ontario and have a keen interest and commitment to civic engagement.
“It’s an opportunity for someone in our riding who has an interest in helping celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote and has an interest in civics,” said Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek, who is busy spreading the word about the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“I’m sure once people know about the program, there will be quite a bit of interest.”
During the special celebration, each delegate will meet women leaders, key parliamentary figures and get a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of Ontario’s government. The goal of the program is to inspire young women to become leaders and spark their interest in governance and current affairs.
“It’s basically seeing how provincial parliament operates,” said Yurek. “Meeting up with some members of the provincial parliament and other women who share an interest in celebrating women’s right to vote.”
In Ontario, The Election Law Amendment Act of 1917 gave all women the right to vote in provincial elections. While some women were allowed to vote federally during the First World War, all women over 21-years-old were officially given the right in 1919.
“It was a lot of hard work undertaken by women to get the right to vote,” said Yurek. “I think it’s something that should be celebrated.”
Potential delegates must meet the age and residency requirements, fill out an online form on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario website, provide a letter of recommendation and submit their application by the Feb. 28 deadline. All applicants are also required to write a 500-word essay about what Canadian women’s rights activist Emily Murphy’s quote, “Leaders Today as Never Before” means to them.
Delegates have their meals covered and individuals from outside of commuting distance from Queen’s Park will receive two night’s accommodation. Participants’ with eligible transportation costs, like train tickets or airfare, will be reimbursed.
Applications are open and can be made at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario website, www.ontla.on.ca.
– Ontario residents
– Young women 18 to 23 years old
– Completion of online application form
– 500-word essay
– Interest in citizenship, leadership, democracy and governance
– A letter of recommendation
– Application deadline Tuesday Feb. 28