Sunday, February 27, 2011

Christy Clark ... A New Beginning?

Children Playing Cards
Hugh Salmson

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.

20 comments:

Canarybird said...

Jo that's wonderful to hear of her rise to the position of Premier of British Columbia. I have to admit I haven't been following B.C. politics lately as I've been away from home for so long but I love to hear stories like that and to know that a woman with her background can aspire to and gain one of the highest positions in government. Thanks for your post! Cheers, Sharon.

Jennifer D said...

Happy Oscar watching tonight, Jo!

Kym said...

Bravo! I can't wait to see what happens over here in America! While single parenting has hit an all time high here, for women it still stings! When I was first a single parent back in the late eighties, if my child was sick I was forced to find someone to watch him because vacation days or even time off with no pay was not allowed for anything at the last moment. My boss was even female, a single parent and lived with her parents whom helped her out and she would tell me if she can come to work when her child was sick, so could I. I had to have a friend of mine one time take my extremely sick child to the doctor for me and when I got home that evening, I found out that my child would have been hospitalized due to double pneumonia but the doctor was hesitate to put the child in the hospital due to the fact that I could have lost my job. My son did recover, but the fact that when I told my work he was extremely sick, they forced my hand to chose. I have always felt the stares, looks and stupid comments when others would find out that I was the sole parent of my son and I never understood why I was the one bearing all their ignorance. It takes two to tango and surely I wasn't the only one responsible for bringing the child into the world. A few years ago after my divorce and yet again raising another child somewhat by myself (thank god it is not as hard as it was solely raising my son due to her father actually being a part of her life)a male, single, childless, never married coworker made a comment that I should have turned him in for. His comment was in response to my frustration of having to work 10 hour, four day weeks and being concerned that my daughter was spending way too much time at the daycare. He told me that the type of business our company ran was and should not be geared for single parents and that maybe I should start looking for another job. I was floored that he said it to me and did not know what to say. I am the proud parent of two beautiful children and let me tell you I would not change it for anything. We cannot help the circumstances that we fall into but we can learn to make the best of them! Someday those who judge harshly will reap what they sow!

Leslie: said...

I was loudly rooting for Christy simply to get the "good ole boys club" outta there! I bet there are at least 3 pretty p*ssed-off men today! Go Christy!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

We have, indeed, come a long way, baby!

Susan said...

I really hope that she will do something good for not only women in this province but for everyone as well. My daughter works for just above minimum wages and can't afford to move out because as she says "I can afford rent its the other things like food, clothes, etc that I can't afford."

Jo said...

Well said, Jo!

How exciting to hear of a 'real person' reaching the heights of governing, especially women!

I did not know her 'back story' and so I'm grateful to you for filling me in.

Best of luck to British Columbia and its new leader!

jojo said...

Best wishes to her, I hope she remember how she got there and how many women fought for her to have that right. Indeed!

Cloudia said...

Good for BC and you, Dear!!!




Aloha from Honolulu,


Comfort Spiral

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Alicia said...

Jo,
I too was a single mother and I know exactly what you mean. I can remember going to work sick as a dog but not being able to take sick time as I had to save that time in case my children got sick. Great post!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

This is wonderful news! I raised my three children alone, and when my youngest was in college, she called to tell me she was in the hospital with pneumonia. I advised my work place, A BATTERED WOMEN'S SHELTER, that I wouldn't be in. I was told by my boss, another woman, that if I didn't come to work she would fire me. I said, "Did you not hear me? My daughter is in the hospital." She said, "Did you not hear me? I will fire you if you don't come in." I said, "You do what you have to do and I'll do what I have to do." I was fired.

We have waited for meaningful change for so very long. I hope your new Premier will deliver the goods. I am hopeful that she will honor your struggle by doing so.

Dan.Eliot said...

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DJan said...

Wow! That's wonderful, Jo, and I look forward to hearing from you how you think she is doing. I cannot believe you were fired from your job for taking care of a sick child. These days that kind of treatment would not be tolerated, or you would at least have some recourse.

Lauralee said...

I do not feel it is "up to the village." I feel it is up the family. Also, I wish her priorities were more spiritual.

Lauralee said...

Your blog is really interesting and thought provoking. Glad to see it doing well. :)

Lauralee said...

God knows how we all feel.

lgsquirrel said...

Well, that is refreshing but is she left, right or middle?

DUTA said...

I hope you're right about her, as people who reach the top usually tend to ignore those left behind.

Mia said...

I thought Canadians were more progressive than that. That's what Canadians tell me anyway.

The Bug said...

I love this story - but I'm afraid that the US is slipping back into the bad old days. So much of the Republican agenda seems to be an attack on women. Sigh.