There's no age limit to equality
Madison Blanchard is the newest and youngest member of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women and she has a lot to add.
The 21-year-old Charlottetown journalism student’s interest was piqued when she attended a community focus group hosted by the PEI Coalition for Women in Government last spring. She wanted to know what holds women back from getting involved in boards and getting involved in government.
On the spot, she was encouraged to apply to as a board member of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, through Engage PEI. Her application was accepted and she attended her first meeting last month where she quickly realized she was the youngest at the table by at least a decade.
“There were women there who have been on the board since the 1980s; 10 years before I was born,” Blanchard said.“They bring a history and perspective I don’t have but I can share the perspective of a younger woman.”
This is the perfect time for Blanchard to get involved, as she just finished two years of her half-and-half journalism degree from Holland College and UPEI. She is bringing her recent experience of growing up female on Prince Edward Island to the important discussions of the council.
“I wanted to be a voice for young women,” she said. “I want to be a part of a change. The more voices the better.”
Blanchard said she feels sexism is not as overt anymore – “it’s almost unconscious. It’s about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and not trying to discriminate,” she said.
It bothers her that we have so few female MLAs in our legislature when half the population is female.
“Our legislature needs to reflect our population," she said. "We can’t afford to ignore this any longer.".
Blanchard eventually wants to be a journalist but for now she works as a gardener for the City of Charlottetown in the summer and at the Eastlink Centre canteen while also fitting in the odd babysitting job for some extra money. She is the daughter of Margaret Gallant and Jamie Blanchard.
Engage PEI helps Islanders apply to volunteer on more than 70 provincial government agencies, boards, and commissions.