Local MLA meets with Head Start group

Several local young ladies got a chance to sit down and talk politics with local MLA Linda Larson Thursday.

Linda Larson (second from right)

Several local young ladies got a chance to sit down and talk politics with their local MLA.On Thursday, Linda Larson, Boundary-Similkameen MLA, met with several of the local participants in the Head Start for Young Women program. The program involves females from 16-24 who have come together to work together to identify challenges that women face in politic life.Our MLA was coming to the community and she contacted me about meeting with the girls in the program, said councillor Cher Wyers, who was instrumental in bringing the program to Grand Forks.“They got a chance to talk with Linda about the political arena and what’s happening right now around the region,” said Wyers.Larson was quite impressed with the young ladies with whom she chatted with over lunch at Rumours.“It was amazing,” she said. “I think this community is so lucky to have such interested and involved young women who want to find out more about how democracy works from the ground up. The fact that they’re interested and want to learn more about democracy is amazing.”Larson said she has seen more female representation in recent years at all levels of government.“It’s more than 30 per cent,” she said. “In all of Canada, all the top positions from Attorney General to premier are occupied by women so that makes it much more comfortable for those of us women involved in government right now.”Larson said as a female politician that she’s never felt excluded from the ‘old boys club’.“I really don’t feel that at all,” she said. “Maybe I just ignore that – it’s hard to say. But I haven’t found anybody who didn’t immediately take whatever concern I had and deal with it – regardless of whether I was a woman or not. So I’d like to think that is general and it will stay that way.”Larson said with 30 per cent plus of politicians being female, it’s hard to ignore. However, she would like to see that number grow to 40 and programs like Head Start for Young Women can only help.Larson said having more women involved in politic is beneficial in so many ways.“Women bring to the table a more varied way of looking at things,” said Larson. “We actually feel and think differently. We’re not as focused on one issue. We can handle more than one thing at a time. I think that’s a real plus to government to have that touch of empathy to thinks they do.”Larson added that it can still be a challenge for women in politics (as well as men) raising young children.She would love to see major corporations have child care facilities in their buildings.“They would never have to worry about finding employees,” she said. “They could have their pick if they provided onsite childcare. I think governments and other business that employ dozens and dozens of people should be thinking that.”  Wyers said the Head Start group has come up with a project which involves hosting a mentorship conference for young women in local government which would take place around October 3. “The final outcome, because the project ends Oct. 31, will be the youth advisory council for Grand Forks,” said Wyers. “The politicians that attend (the mentorship conference) are asked to bring one to three young ladies from their communities that they can mentor over the weekend and take back the information that they share and hopefully start youth councils in their communities.”