Last week, Hillary Clinton gave an address to leaders at the second annual gathering of the Women in Public Service Project at Bryn Mawr College. In her speech, the former Secretary of State encouraged them to “step up” into positions of leadership within government and other organizations across the globe.
More women are needed in positions of power and several Canadian organizations are working to help women develop their leadership skills. Women in Leadership, a non-profit that operates in several major Canadian cities, develops programming to help advance women in leadership roles. The Canadian Women’s Foundation, an organization dedicated to empowering women and girls socially, economically, and professionally, has established a Leadership Institute in which mentors can teach young women not only how to develop their own personal leadership skills, but also how to use them to contribute to organizational development.
Perhaps most importantly, however, government must step forward to ensure that women are being appointed to positions of authority, so that they can bring new ideas to policy development that will empower women across the country.
In today’s Cabinet shuffle, Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated on Twitter that he is “proud to be naming four new strong, capable women to the Ministry….” Shelly Glover, MP for Saint Boniface, Manitoba, has been named minister of Canadian heritage and official languages; Kellie Leitch, MP for Simcoe-Grey, will serve as minister of labour and minister for the status of women; Candice Bergen, MP for Portage-Lisgar, was appointed minister of state for social development; and Michelle Rempel, MP for Calgary Centre-North, will take on the high profile job of minister of state for western economic diversification.
The appointments bring to 12 the number of women serving in Cabinet.
These appointments have been applauded as a step forward for women in politics. But are they enough? What else can government and other organizations do to help women into positions of leadership? Let us know in the comments.