Given the current restrictions caused by COVID-19, this year’s edition of Women in House will be held virtually. On the first day of the program, participants will have to opportunity to attend a keynote address with the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. On the second day, participants be paired with MPs and Senators for a one-on-one conversation over Zoom. While we recognize that this new format does not replicate the two-day trip to Ottawa, we are certain that it will offer McGill women a valuable opportunity to speak with women in Parliament.
The 2020-2021 program took place from January 28-29, 2021.
Women in House Coordinators for 2020-2021
From: Montreal, Quebec
In 2018, during the first year of my undergraduate studies at McGill, I applied to Women in House on a whim. I had always been passionate about politics and felt that the experience would shed light on the inner workings of government. I had not anticipated just how empowering and inspiring the experience would be. Seeing firsthand the courage and dedication of the women who work tirelessly to make sure our voices are heard on the Hill is thrilling. Along the way, I also met wonderful women who I have no doubt will play a key role in shaping our collective future. A few years later, I clearly see the pivotal role the program has played in my life, pushing me to actively uplift the women around me. Part of this has meant coordinating the 2020-2021 edition of Women in House and sharing my experience with a group of truly inspiring young women. The road to effective female representation in politics is long, but I have no doubt that these women — through their remarkable leadership and commitment — will bring us closer to the end goal.
Mary Lynne Loftus
From: Montreal, Quebec
Hi all! My name is Mary Lynne Loftus and I’m in my final year at McGill, majoring in Political Science and double minoring in Communication Studies and Canadian Ethnic and Racial Studies. During my first year at McGill, I had the honour and pleasure of taking part in the Women in House program and shadowed Member of Parliament, Mona Fortier. Through this experience, I realized the importance of female political representation in pushing for inclusive agendas and the power of strong female networks. My favourite part of the program was by far the inspiring women I met – some of whom became amazing mentors and close friends. Over the last four years, I’ve gotten involved in organizations like McGill Women in Leadership and the International Relations Students’ Association at McGill’s delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women. Women in House was truly the starting point for these involvements so I knew that I wanted to spend my last year helping organize this program. It has empowered me and countless other women, and I am certain this year’s virtual program will be an incredible experience for the impressive women that make up the 2021 cohort!
From: Edmonton, Alberta
Hi everyone! My name is Iyanu Soyege and I study Political Science and African Studies at McGill. I am Swati by birth, Nigerian by blood and Canadian by citizenship and residence. My multifaceted identity has led me to desire the manifestation of descriptive and substantive representation displaying Canada’s diverse communities in our governments. Considering I am passionate about representation in politics, I knew getting involved in the Women in House program would provide a splendid opportunity for me to address the issue. I am a firm believer in the idea that governments should look like the societies they represent in efforts to develop effective and equitable policies. I urge anyone interested in political work in any sphere (e.g. journalism, scholarly work, grassroots organizing) to get involved in this program because it gives participants unique perspectives and tangible experiences that will prove to be useful in their future endeavours. I am constantly inspired by past participants of this program who have become political staffers, federal Cabinet Ministers and the founders of non-profit organizations. I cannot wait to see all the things 2020-2021 participants accomplish!