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Media Release: Launch of the #LiftHerUp Campaign

Launch of the #LiftHerUp Campaign for an Election Free from Gender-Based Violence

September 14, 2021

EDMONTON, ALBERTA—The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS), in partnership with Equal Voice Alberta, is launching Lift Her Up, a non-partisan campaign that seeks to end misogynistic attacks on women in politics. The campaign kicks off concurrently with the Alberta municipal elections which happen across the province this October. 

This is the second iteration of the Lift Her Up campaign. The first took place during the last municipal elections in 2017 and was born in response to the chants of “Lock her up” heard at anti-Notley rallies at the Legislature. Directors from domestic violence shelters around the province came up with the counter message of “Lift Her Up” to encourage issue-focused discourse during the political process. 324 candidates across 26 communities signed the previous commitment to run an issues-based and violence-free campaign. 

“In 2021, we see the continued need for activism that supports respectful campaigning and an overall culture of inclusion. Lift Her Up is about supporting the advancement of women in leadership roles, regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum. People who experience marginalization because of their sex, gender expression, race or culture deserve a seat at the table without facing sexism or hate in the election process,” said Jan Reimer, Executive Director of ACWS. Reimer, herself a veteran of municipal politics, was Edmonton’s first (and to this date, only) female mayor, serving two terms from 1989 until 1995.  

 The Lift Her Up Campaign invites candidates of all genders to sign a public commitment to promote equality, both as a candidate during the election process and should they take office. 

Read the Lift Her Up Commitment and see who has signed so far. 

“Women of all political leanings face misogynistic attacks as a regular occurrence. With a federal election also coming up on September 20th the #LiftHerUp call to action is a timely reminder of the importance of promoting non-violence in the political process at every level of government. We are pleased to work with the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters to encourage all candidates running for municipal office to sign the commitment,” said Robyn Henwood, Chair, of Equal Voice Northern Alberta. 

Lift Her Up has grown to become more than a campaign commitment—it is emerging as part of a program to remove gendered violence from political participation. As part of their ongoing advocacy and violence prevention work, ACWS will be releasing a research report on the lived experiences of women in politics in the fall of 2021.  

 

Background: 

A survey was distributed to candidates in the 2017 municipal elections in Alberta. The results indicated that women experienced the electoral campaign differently than men: 

  • Women were 4x more likely than men to note the overall tone of the election as negative, with 44 % of women incumbents noting the 2017 campaign as more negative than previous elections. 
  • Women respondents were 4x more likely than men to report that the nature of criticisms received were focused on themselves (choices of clothing, pregnancy or decision to have children, racial identity, religion, sexuality, etc.) as opposed to their political platform.
  • Women were 3x more likely than men to report experiencing repeated discriminatory interactions with at least one individual, group, or media outlet.
  • 63% of women respondents reported at least one misogynistic or discriminatory attack, with 43% reporting this as a regular occurrence. 

Equal Voice Alberta:  

Founded in 2001, Equal Voice is a multi-partisan organization dedicated to electing and supporting women at all levels of political office. Equal Voice is a member-based organization that includes women, men, and gender diverse people from every region of Canada and every political party. Equal Voice Alberta North is based in Edmonton and hosts networking events, speakers series and campaign schools. 

Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS):  

The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters represents 40 emergency and second-stage sheltering organizations for women and children fleeing violence and abuse. The ACWS provides professional development and training, action-based research and increases public awareness of issues related to family violence for the benefit of abused women and their children. http://acws.ca  

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ACWS Contact:
Olivia Street, Coordinator of Communications & Social Advocacy
780-566-3091   Olivia.Street@acws.ca 

Equal Voice Alberta Contact:
Robyn Henwood, Chair, Equal Voice Northern Alberta
albertanorth@equalvoice.ca