The following Self-Assessment Exercise is provided courtesy of the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women. It has been taken from its excellent guidebook Votes for Women (see More on this Issue for the link to this guidebook).
See the sidebar to access the exercise.
You may want to pursue this exercise by reading the biographies of former women politicians to see how they assess themselves. There are also many feminist authors who help us understand who we are.
In fact, in a lecture she gave in 1998 on the arduous path towards creating a critical mass of elected women, the Honourable Monique Bégin, touched upon what women studies have taught us about ourselves and how they continue to enlighten us. Bégin was the first woman from Quebec elected to the House of Commons as a Liberal in 1972, former Minister of Health and now Professor Emerita at the University of Ottawa School of Management.
“Some feminists’ concepts appeared most enlightening to me; they gave me words to name what I had lived and observed around me in the House, in my Department or around the Cabinet table. What makes up the male ‘real’ world out there, by opposition to the ‘natural’ private and personal sphere of women, should be deconstructed and debated forcefully with all its negation of women’s experience and very existence.”
Bégin, an avid reader who served as Executive Secretary of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada in 1969-1970 – prior to her political career where, as Minister of Health she introduced the Canada Health Act (1984)– offers a list of feminist authors who have influenced her thinking. They are listed in More on this Issue.