It was not that long ago that social norms regarding sexual roles were less than equal. Indeed, the topic of the continual evolution of the role of women in society now makes up a significant section of any university’s humanities department. For younger generations, the rights and freedoms of young women today are oftentimes taken for granted, and the intriguing history of feminism involving many hard-fought legal and social victories can sometimes appear lost. For sure, complete gender equality has not yet been reached. While women today have more opportunities, access to education, wider career options, as well as the ability to leave an abusive relationship without the harsh social stigmas women in the past had to endure, there is still ground to be won when it comes to pay equity and acceptance in executive roles, for example.
This election I noticed a change I believe most will agree is a tremendous advancement for women. Not only is the list of candidates running for local office well-balanced along gender lines, but one particular female candidate has, perhaps very subtly, shown that being a new mother need not tie you down. I observed this younger woman pushing her young child along in a carriage while she campaigned door to door. Campaign brochures stacked in the cargo hold of this modern “chariot,” mom and baby are blazing a new trail for the modern young mother.
It may not seem as significant as I am making it out to be, but if it does not seem significant, I believe my point is proven well, as gender equality has taken on a whole new level of acceptance. It was not so long ago when it was expected a mother and her infant should be somewhat removed from society, as if both too fragile to be in open air. Thinking about it today, who better to run for local office than a younger mother? Who could possibly care more about the state of local schools? Thanks to the lull of daily nap time, I would bet this younger mother will have read the entire council meeting reading package every two weeks, something not all councillors always do.
As a young person it is easy to complain about the world. It is much harder to put your money or time on the line and start or join something. It is much harder to stick out your neck, add your name to the ballot and hope to earn others’ votes. Respect from older generations is not won easily, but once it is won, it was usually worth all the effort. I, for one, hope this particular young mother can earn enough votes to represent this incredibly important demographic in our local process. As a whole we are an infant-dependent demographic. I could not think of a more positive role model for other younger women growing up today. And I sure hope that babysitting expenses are deductable for politicians. If not, they should be.