Just in time for the TTC’s annual fare hike (remember when it was $2.25 to catch a ride? Those were the days guys, those were the days…) I’m thrilled to present the fruits of a months-long collaboration with the great Toronto Women’s City Alliance: The TWCA Municipal Literacy Toolkit!
This resource was designed to help women and girls better understand the mechanisms of policy-making at Toronto City Hall, how these policies affect our daily lives, and how we can take concrete steps to advocate for regulatory-changes at the municipal level. Filled with useful information, activities, and links to supplementary resources, the Toolkit is currently being used in workshops throughout the city. These workshops were created with the intention of encouraging women to pursue “concrete action in six main areas: Housing, Transportation, Childcare, Community Recreation, Inclusion, and Women’s Equality in Office.”
Since its formation in 2004, TWCA has strove to make women’s voices heard at tables where important decisions are made. In Toronto’s City Council (which is comprised of a mayor and 44 councilors) only 14 councilors are female, a gross representational imbalance considering more than 50% of Toronto’s diverse population of +2.97 million are women. Organizations like TWCA work to promote a gender-equity lens in urban planning by stressing how intersectional aspects of our identity—including gender, race, class and ability—affect our access to city services and programs.
I started this post with some lightheartedness about the TTC fare hike, but the fact of the matter is that for many women, every single penny counts. This additional cost can mean having to choose between transit fares and food, having less access to services like childcare, or even having to miss important medical appointments. Issues like escalating service fees, poverty, under/unemployment, homelessness, domestic violence and sexual abuse (just to name a few) are the lived experiences of so many women in our cities. Ensuring these issues are actively included and dealt with in the civic agenda is a first and necessary step to creating a truly accessible, safer, successful, and vibrant Toronto where women can thrive with equal access to opportunities and services that better suit our unique needs.
You gotta fight…for your right….to have equal political representation so that decisions made at the municipal level can have a more positive effect on facets of your daily life!!
It’s not catchy, nor does it rhyme…but it’s true!
Thanks to TWCA and Kara Santoke in particular for an awesome collaboration. You can learn more about TWCA and their brilliant work in this op-ed by Reggie Modlich or by vising their website: www.twca.ca
To access the toolkit itself, click here!