Inspiring black women to join politics goal of Ottawa panel

Network for Black Business and Professional Women hoping for more candidates of visible minorities

CBC News Posted: Sep 27, 2015 5:24 PM ET Last Updated: Sep 27, 2015 5:24 PM ET

Elcho Stewart is president of the Network for Black Business and Professional Women

Elcho Stewart is president of the Network for Black Business and Professional Women (CBC)

The Network for Black Business and Professional Women held a panel discussion on Sunday to inspire women from black communities to get involved in politics.

Elcho Stewart, president of the network, says her group wanted to start a conversation and get more women from visible minorities in the political arena.

“When you look at the niqab conversation, when you look at the domestic violence conversation that the leaders of the political parties are just bungling left and right we realize we need women in their sphere,” she said.

“We are are here and we must speak up or else we’ll be left out of the equation. Here we come.”

While the deadline for nominating for the 2015 federal election is over, Stewart hopes to inspire women to run in future elections.

“How can we encourage our daughters and our sons to get into the arena?” she said. “You have to make sure you’re not limping into the arena but you’re marching in.”

Jane Njihia says she was drawn to the event because she feels underrepresented.

“I don’t blame anybody for that I just feel that we do not participate as much as we ought to,” she said.

The panel included past and current candidates, like Liberal MP hopeful Bernadette Clement.

She says it’s important to talk openly about her experiences to inspire the next generation of candidates.

“To make sure who we have in office and around decision-making tables reflects the diversity that actually exists in our communities,” she said.

“I think once you speak personally about your experiences than people want to listen and young black women may see us as mentors.”

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/inspiring-black-women-to-join-politics-goal-of-ottawa-panel-1.3246131

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