Clark: Still work to do breaking through the glass ceiling

When I’m meeting with male dignitaries, they will sometimes look across the table at the men who work for me, as if they’re in charge.

Watching U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump with increasing astonishment, a lot of questions come to mind.

How could this happen; how far will it go; but also, could you imagine a woman being as successful as he is right now, saying the awful things he says?

Trump is an extreme example, so consider Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

Google both their names with the word “ambitious,” and compare the results.

For Sanders, “ambitious ideas” and similar results come up. For Clinton, it’s “ruthless” or “naked” ambition.

Whatever you think of them as candidates, this is revealing. For many women, this bias isn’t new.

For example, when I’m meeting with a group of male dignitaries, they will sometimes instinctively look across the table at the men who work for me, as if they’re in charge.

I see it in the Legislature too; the Opposition will dismiss me as a cheerleader. The Opposition’s job is to oppose, but these simply aren’t criticisms they would make of a man.

I can deal with it, but it’s not really about me. It’s about the thousands of women still bumping up against a glass ceiling, who don’t have the advantage of already being in charge. It’s about a subtle discrimination and gender bias that still exists in a lot of workplaces.

Last weekend, I earned the distinction of becoming Canada’s longest-serving female premier.

It’s nice, but in a country that produced WAC Bennett, Joey Smallwood, and a 75-year Conservative dynasty in Alberta, it’s surprising that no other woman has made it past five years and two days as a premier.

To make a world where women never feel intimidated, underestimate, or afraid to speak up and have their ideas heard, we need to work together.

Here’s what I’m doing in government: Almost 40 per cent of my cabinet are women. The Speaker of the Legislature, the Lieutenant-Governor, my party’s caucus chair, my deputy chief of staff, and top bureaucrat are all women.

More than 40 per cent of our 2,000 board appointments and 48 per cent of my senior public servants are women.

I think it’s important to note we achieved this without quotas. Each and every one of these women were chosen because they were the best person for the job.

We need to grow the field of women leaders across the board, not just in government and politics.

That’s why we have focused on helping more women, especially single mothers, join the middle class.

We started the Single Parent Employment Initiative that pays for tuition, transportation and child care when you’re training for a new career, and keeps the cheques coming until you start work.

We also started the Women in Trades Training Program to assist and encourage women into leadership roles and non-traditional career paths.

 

Since 2008, more than 3,000 women have received their start in a new career through this program—and they’re about to have more company. Last week, we invested a further $1.8 million in Women in Trades Training.

We have more to do, and we have to keep working on changing people’s attitudes.

When men and women contribute together equally, the world is a better—and more prosperous—place.

Just Posted

Kelowna 4th worst city in B.C. for homeless deaths

A report from BC Coroners Service reveals the most recent numbers from 2007 to 2016

Record rotary auction makes Okanagan dreams come true

Kalamalka Rotary Club donates more than $194,000

Indigenous students recognized at ceremony at Okanagan College

The ceremony recognizes that students are getting an education while holding onto Indigenous background and teachings

Okanagan College Coyotes kick off season

The Coyotes enter the 2019 CCBC season with a battle against Edmonton on Saturday

Canada Finance Minister to promote budget in Kelowna

Bill Morneau will speak in Kelowna

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Update: Highway 3 near Keremeos open to alternating traffic

Details scarce about collision that has closed Highway 3 west of Keremeos

Okanagan librarian delves into trio of titles

Book Talk: Dark Matter, Lincoln’s Dreams and The Jealous Kind

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Baby left alone in vehicle in B.C. Walmart parking lot

Williams Lake RCMP issue warning after attending complaint at Walmart Wednesday

Most Read