With 2021 just around the corner, Equal Voice is pleased to provide an update on our Daughters of the Vote (DOV) program.
Following the open call for applications, we were thrilled to receive so many incredible applications to our first-ever virtual DOV. We were inspired and humbled by the young women and gender-diverse youth from across Canada who took the time to share their work, their lived experiences, and their visions for the future of Canada with us.
Now, our staff are hard at work ensuring the 2021 program is better and more dynamic than ever before, despite the many changes and challenges relating to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, we are in the process of confirming participation from selected delegates, and appreciate everyone’s patience as our small team works through a high volume of correspondence.
In planning for the new iteration of the program, we carefully reviewed all feedback from the 2017 and 2019 DOV cohorts, recognizing that not all delegates had a positive experience.
We’ve come along way from the first-ever Daughters of the Vote program, which was run almost entirely by volunteers. Under the leadership of a new Board of Directors we have been working to embed equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) throughout the organization. This has included training for Board members, further reviewing workplace policies and our programs through an equity lens, developing workplace values and a diversity statement, hiring a senior equity advisor, and ongoing regular training on anti-racism and EDI for all staff. We know we, like so many organizations, have a long way to go – but are committed to learning and unlearning as we continue to strive for nothing short of excellence.
Additional program elements for 2021 include, but are not limited to:
- Mandatory anti-racism and anti-oppression training, delivered ahead of the event for delegates, staff, and volunteers;
- Mandatory revised code of conduct for all participants developed by the impartial Ombudsperson;
- An Indigenous Delegates Forum;
- A Black Delegates Forum;
- An Inclusive politics panel for all delegates to explore organizations working with under-represented communities in Canada's political institutions;
- Various partner-led workshops and sessions focusing on the many intersectional identities of delegates, allyship, and their impact on political engagement;
- Mix of live and pre-recorded material to ensure accessibility of all program components;
- Skills-based training and written guides for political engagement;
- Sessions with all political parties to provide networking spaces to delegates with common political views and ideologies;
- Application, selection, and other program aspects developed in partnership with a senior equity advisor, and other experts.
To demonstrate this ongoing commitment, and to ensure a positive experience for all delegates in 2021, the following services and supports will be available for the duration of the virtual program:
- An impartial Ombudsperson, with a background in conflict resolution and human rights;
- Community mediators trained in conflict resolution and human rights;
- Confidential wellness support team;
- Indigenous Elders;
- Reimbursement for childcare and related expenses for all delegates and speakers;
- Simultaneous translation/interpretation for all plenary sessions, and simultaneous events in English and French, respectively, during breakout sessions where simultaneous interpretation is not possible;
- Closed-captioning services for all plenary and breakout sessions;
- Technical support for all delegates, including those in rural and remote regions;
- Needs-based provision of technical equipment.
We are always open to further suggestions and feedback. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at: [email protected]