On Friday Oct 22nd, just 4 days after Jyoti Gondek was elected as Mayor, Making Waves was invited to join 10 other women in Historic City Hall, and talk to Jyoti about how Calgary can become a more gender equal city. We know that Jyoti made an impression on us at Making Waves, but we had no idea what an impression we made on Jyoti. In that hour together, history was made—a group of women meeting with Calgary’s first female Mayor-- and we were a part of it! Young Wavemaker Eden has captured the moment in a reflection below.
"Last Friday, I was invited to join a conversation with the new Calgary mayor and other women who are passionate about gender equality. For everyone in the room, the fact that we had elected our first female mayor was reason enough for celebration. Unsure what to expect, I met with Hanita outside of city hall full of excitement.
From the beginning of Making Waves, I saw this beautiful space we created as an essential forum for open conversations about feminism. Being invited to take part in the discussion at city hall felt as if now the rest of the world was ready to jump in on the conversation. A big motto I have learned since I joined Making Waves was “Put in the Work”, I felt our voices have been brought to the conversation as a result of the amazing work we have been doing.
After entering historic city hall, we sat on couches and arm chairs in a circle with Jyoti and various female founders and CEOs from different women’s organizations in Calgary. Jyoti started the conversation by asking: “What can we (the municipal government) do for your organizations? What problems are your organizations struggling with? What support are you missing?”. These questions led to an open conversation about childcare, reliable transit, affordable housing, safety, miscarriages, and tampons. We discussed how interconnected and impacted society is as a whole by what is put into a category still deemed “Women’s Issues”. Although all the women were from different sectors of society, addressing specific concerns such as childcare would have a domino effect on other sectors such as female engagement in politics. This interconnection is what made the conversation so lively, as ideas kept building on top of one another. It was amazing to see the strength and support we can give one another as we all combat the same norms and barriers from society. Jyoti created a comfortable and compassionate space, and I was inspired by the accomplishments and drive of every women in the room. A new fire was relit in me after the meeting and I am excited for the future of Making Waves and for Calgary to be progressing forward."