Canada’s parliament filled its 338 seats with young women to mark International Women’s Day. Even the speaker of the house was replaced by a young woman.
Called Daughters of the Vote, the event was organized to mark the 100-year anniversary of some Canadian women being allowed to vote for the first time at the federal level. Each seat was filled by a woman representing her riding and speaking out on issues including poverty and homelessness, the gap in funding for First Nations education, campus sexual assault, and female inmates.
However, the woman representing Newmarket — Aurora, Arezoo Najibzadeh, intentionally left her seat vacant to represent women who have not entered politics due to sexual or gender-based violence.
Canada’s first woman Prime Minister Kim Campbell addressed them, saying it was important to see women doing jobs that are usually occupied by men.
“Who we think gets to do a job depends on who we see doing the job. When I was Prime Minister I didn’t look like anyone who had done that job before,” Kim Campbell told the women in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
Some Canadian women officially got the federal vote in 1917, but not all women were allowed to vote that year. For instance, Indigenous people living on reserve were not allowed to vote until 1960. Before that, they had to give up their Indian status and rights if they wanted to cast a ballot.