Edmonton City Council has reiterated that it is an important matter to take women’s issues into account, along with the timing of important meetings. Gender-based policy-making, along with cogent, sensitivity-applied training for city councillors is set to fully take place after the next election in October. Being open to a full, gender-based analysis of salient issues that come before council is the goal which has been hammered out and set in place this week in Edmonton.
Soon, city policy and decision-makers may have to obtain feedback on issues to which created policy affects Edmonton women. This also touched upon a further area affecting minority groups, as well.
For instance, the shift of policy goes up for Council approval next week. It follows findings Tuesday, at a council meeting which points out to how to properly and ethically adopt and analyze gender-based issues in the city, while using a process that is also salient and timely, whether the issue at hand is gender-driven or not.
Spearheading the proposal, is Councillor Bev Esslinger. She forwards a popular suggestion that staff look with far more proximity and detail keeping gender-bias in mind, in future projects dealing with new infrastructure projects as well as setting specific times for public meetings.
Esslinger states that she thinks,”it will shape a city that is respectful of everyone” and that “it is a good step forward”.
Examples are many. They range from city staff being more accommodating to people who use strollers for their children, helping out parents, while essentially moving forward as well to adapting better to people with disabilities. It behooves council, ethically, to then stretch out beyond these examples to accommodate the senior portion of the population in Edmonton, as well as those with disabilities, in like fashion.
But one point of relevance that is controversial, yet needing to be addressed says, Dawn Newton, a spokesperson with “Women’s Advocacy Voice of Edmonton” is that she maintains, it is “the timing of meetings”. Some women with smaller children at home just cannot attend for example, “If the town hall meetings are in the evening. This is the time when home-cooked dinners are prepared and children are put to bed”. Dawn Newton states that rules around engagement and timing of the meetings could be changed, so that those important voices, here-to-for missing at the presently timed meetings, could be heard.
Mayor Don Iveson, supported by councillors agrees with the rationale of this point and commented that such changes would mean better decisions being made, since relevant voices, currently kept out of meetings, would finally be heard. He states,”Women are under-represented in the decision-making process, ” and that “this will ensure that our decisions are made for everybody”.
If approval is given, the city will report back next year on how policy for gender-based issues and process has affected our city with regard to both the issues themselves, and the manner and timing in which decisions are being made. In addition, city councillors will receive training with regard to executing proper gender-based and sensitive analysis for future meetings. The training will commence after the October election.
This article was written by Donna Murchie.