Children Playing Cards
On April 5, 1917 women were granted the right to vote in provincial elections in British Columbia, and along with those rights they were also given responsibilities. However, for many years, women were treated as second-class citizens even well until the 1970s and 1980s. I was a single parent during a time when women were discriminated against by employers, landlords, bank managers – all of whom were men. I didn’t realize at the time that I was being discriminated against, but in hindsight I can see it was appalling. It affected my life and the life of my child in so many unnecessary ways. I remember one incident where my daughter was very ill with a serious form of measles. My family doctor advised me to shut all the curtains and keep a close eye on her symptoms. After several days, my daughter recovered and I was able to go back to work. When I returned to work -- as a legal secretary for a prominant lawyer -- I was fired for having taken time off work to be with a sick child. That was a regular occurrence for many women. In addition, landlords would often decide they were not going to allow children to live in their buildings any longer, and out we went. That was a regular occurrence too. The women of my generation could share some horror stories, believe me, and the stress, worry and anxiety was always present. It changed who we were. Childhood should be a time when children are protected against the negative realities of life, and it’s up to everyone to do that. It takes a village... Eventually, however, we were able to have the archaic laws amended and those horror stories are rare today.
So, I was very pleased yesterday evening when a 46 year-old divorced, single mother of a nine-year old child became the Premier of British Columbia. Christy Clark may not necessarily be the most popular candidate with many British Columbians, but she is one of us. She gets it. She understands. I hope she has removed herself enough from the old-boys-club otherwise known as provincial politics, that she will bring a new way of thinking to her job as Premier. In her acceptance speech, she said her priorities as a Premier will be "B.C. families, job creation and the fight against poverty". She will do well to remember the hard road that was walked by generations of women before her, in order that she can be in the position she is in now. We will hold her feet to the fire if she doesn't keep her promises.