Episode #8: Pam Damoff, Member of Parliament for Oakville North-Burlington, Ontario
Pam Damoff was elected to represent the riding of Oakville-North Burlington (just outside Toronto, for my non-Canadian listeners) in the House of Commons in Canada’s 2015 federal election. Prior to the election, Pam served as an Oakville Town Councillor from 2010-2015. During her time on council, she served on the Oakville Public Library Board, the budget committee and the Oakville Tourism Partnership. And all of this came after a 25-year career in corporate real estate. Pam was named Vice Chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women in December 2015. She is also a member of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
I met Pam about a year ago when I attended one of her Young Women in Leadership events – a program she offers to match girls in her riding with local female mentors from various industries. Her goal is to help girls see career opportunities they might never have considered and the program is having great success. I’ve continued to follow her ever since, even though I live outside her riding, because of her passion for women’s issues and the inspiring way she confronts social media bullies who can’t seem to get comfortable with the idea of female politicians.
We need this kind of leadership from more leaders like Pam. In this interview we talk about how to encourage more women to run for office, what the real culture is like on Parliament Hill and what still needs to change, why Pam is passionate about fixing workplace harassment issues for federal employees and her program for girls in her riding.
Highlights, by time:
- 02:45 – Pam’s history and why she decided to run for federal office
- 03:50 – Pam tells us female MP’s typically have to be asked 13 times to run for office vs. a man who only has to be asked once – was it the same for her?
- 06:00 – Pam’s view on encouraging girls to make mistakes early so they learn how to fail and improve for next time
- 07:25 – Even with the current Liberal cabinet that’s balanced 50%men/50%women, women still make up only 27% of all parliamentarians. How does Pam encourage young women interested in politics and what barriers still exist?
- 08:45 –Debunking the myth that politics is a horrible job for women
- 12:05 – Pam’s rather unique experience running against two other women for her seat
- 13:05 – Pam’s mentoring program for girls: "Young Women in Leadership" and how it helps them see jobs they might never have considered as possibilities
- 16:10 – What Irving ship building in Halifax learned by using a government funded program to help them hire more women, how it improved their business, and what they learned about the importance of retaining those female employees
- 17:05 – What a recent federal government/Carleton University/BMO study showed about women entrepreneurs as innovators and some of the steps that banks and government funding programs need to take to address this
- 19:45 – How taking names off funding applications could reduce unconscious bias that affects women business owners
- 22:05 – Why we still need more women sitting on expert panels and taking opportunities to speak
- 23:45 – How the
government’s proposed parental leave policy could help women (based on Iceland’s and the province of Quebec’s experience) deal with the stigma that their job is no longer as important as the other parent’s
- 26:30 – Bill C65 to address workplace sexual harassment for federal employees – why it’s necessary and who it helps
- 31:05 – Why, instead of ignoring it, Pam stands up to social media bullying of female politicians
Links to organizations/people mentioned in this episode:
Young Women in Leadership Program Applications due March 23, 2018