As I’m finishing my term as Chair of ParityYEG over the next few weeks, I’ve had some time to reflect on the great first year we’ve had as a nonprofit organization. I wrote an annual report about what we’ve accomplished this year, and thought I’d share it here. Give it a read!
ParityYEG 2018-19 Annual Report
By Lana Cuthbertson, Chair
This is the inaugural annual report of ParityYEG, after its first year as a registered nonprofit organization in Edmonton, Alberta. What a year it was!
In the spring of 2018, we set the foundation for our organization. We worked with highly skilled volunteers Kate Bailey and Carina Ganton to develop a three year strategic plan for our organization, and to discover and develop our values, guiding principles and brand.
We started with six board members:
- Chair: Lana Cuthbertson
- Vice Chair Governance: Ann Gordon
- Vice Chair Finance: Amanda Dunlop
- Vice Chair Membership: Kasey Machin
- Vice Chair Communications: Dorothy Reike
- Vice Chair Events: Marion Fyshe
Shortly after our founding, Ann moved to Vancouver, so we found a new board member:
- Vice Chair Governance: Rakhi Pancholi
We also began to establish some committees. Our fundraising committee, consisting of Christy Holtby, Nafisa Bowen, Luwam Kifflemariam, and Heather Klimchuk, helped us officially found our organization on July 11, 2018, with our Founders event. We reached our goal of signing up 100 Founders a few months later, and each of those Founders donated money to help us establish our organization and host our first few events.
We are now at 119 members and we are thrilled to have such great community support!
On October 25, we hosted a networking event along with a book launch: author Alyson Connelly shared her wisdom about public speaking at the Barking Buffalo cafe, space generously donated to ParityYEG to host this event. Also, in collaboration with Dave Cournoyer, we launched our Parity x Party Dashboard that tracked the number of women candidates in the 2019 provincial election by political party.
On March 9, we held a full day campaign volunteer training workshop at the Roundhouse venue at Macewan University, generously donated to us for the event. A number of highly skilled volunteers lead sessions that day about various aspects of campaigning, including Kasey Machin, Keren Tang, Catherine Keill, Heather Klimchuk, Tyler Butler, and Tamreen Arif and Shoshi Soni from Inspire Her. This event was sponsored by the City of Edmonton Women’s Initiative (WAVE).
During Alberta’s provincial election, we tested and deployed ParityBOT, a Twitter bot that uses machine learning to detect abusive tweets towards women in politics and then sends out a positive tweet for every problematic one it detects.
On May 22, we held a Win, Lose or Draw party and invited all the women who ran in Alberta’s 2019 elections in Edmonton and area to join us to celebrate their candidacies. The Common donated their space for us to hold this event, and we heard several of the women who ran share their stories on panels that evening. Many elected officials attended as well. This event was also sponsored by the City of Edmonton Women’s Initiative (WAVE).
This coming year is a big year for ParityYEG. We’re heading into our second official year as a registered nonprofit, and we are determined to make a big impact and recruit more women to run for office in Edmonton than ever before (we have a pretty good record, too!).
We’ll hold our AGM and elect a new board in July, and check back in with our founders and members to get their renewed support for our mission and goal. We’ll hold another strategic planning day specifically focused on Edmonton’s 2021 municipal elections, and aim to have 50% of the candidates to be women. We’ll continue to improve ParityBOT and redeploy it during the federal election in fall 2019.
Thank you to all our founders, members and supporters, and to the Edmonton community, for your support of ParityYEG, and your commitment alongside us to elect more women. Working together with you in this great city is a privilege, and we can’t wait to celebrate with you at each milestone we reach towards gender parity in politics.
Chair and cofounder, ParityYEG
P.S. We are also immensely pleased to share that one of our board members, Rakhi Pancholi, was elected as an MLA this spring in the 2019 provincial election–and we’re hoping she is just the first of many of our board members to run for office.