A seat at the table

Notes From Another Land | Voting for a seat at the table

This week, I took my son with me to cast my ballot for the Ontario election early as I’m 36 weeks pregnant today and didn’t want to take any chances waiting for election day on June 7th!

We walked into our local voting station on a weekday morning and immediately brought the average age in the room down. 😂 He received a lot of warm smiles from the volunteers as we walked up to get my ballot, vote behind the privacy screen and submit it, before proceeding to take a nature walk outside.

It brought back memories of the last time I voted – also heavily pregnant with him almost two years ago on June 23rd, 2016 – in the Brexit referendum before he was born in early July. I only had to waddle down the street from our flat to cast my ballot at our local community centre. It felt majorly important to be part of history in a referendum which ended in a surprise result (for most Londoners anyhow) to leave the EU. Ironically, I was able to vote as a Citizen of a Commonwealth country and my husband was able to vote as an Irish Citizen, however, our Italian friends who had been living in London for much longer than we had didn’t get the same privilege.

This photo is from a post I did on Instagram the day the Brexit result was announced:

Notes From Another Land | Brexit Referendum

“Big day in the UK: results are in and it’s a vote to leave the EU. As the spouse of an Irish Citizen in London (in which the majority of the city voted to remain) it will be interesting to see how it plays out there, as the majority of Northern Ireland also voted to remain. Here’s hoping for calm days ahead as things unfold.”

Other major referendums have happened over the past few years in other countries we have lived in but after we had moved to another part of the world. We had already moved to Canada by the time the historic yes vote results for Australia’s marriage equality referendum (November 2017) and Ireland’s abortion referendum (May 2018) took place.

We were actually in Dublin when the historic yes vote result was announced after Ireland’s marriage equality referendum (May 2015), as we had flown back from a wedding in Italy the night before! This is a photo I snapped of a ‘VOTE YES’ campaign van as we walked around on Saturday morning.

Notes From Another Land | Dublin Marriage Equality Referendum

“Good on you Ireland! #MarRef success #Dublin #travelgram”

I have always taken an interest in politics and current events but the past few years have really emphasized the power of people, communities and ideas coming together to effect societal change.

Being pregnant seems to make me more aware of things I want to change, discuss, be part of and create. I’ve read of other women becoming more creative, ambitious, impatient or enterprising while waiting to meet their new child.

Perhaps it has to do with the unfolding timeframe, my lack of control over my own body and the desire to be a good role model for my sons, but instead of nesting with domestic tasks I am spending time plotting my first book and testing a business idea. Whatever it is that’s driving me, I certainly feel more strongly than ever about trying something new, experimenting with different ideas and implementing the social marketing theories I studied at university in day-to-day life.

I believe flexible work is important and essential to the success of individuals and businesses. You shouldn’t feel as though you have to opt out of the workforce because you don’t know where you belong. I’m focusing on contributing to the conversation around women and money, women and work, the gender wage gap and toll of unpaid labour. I will invest in myself, my family and other businesses. There’s a lot of discussion around “you can’t be what you can’t see”, so I am going to try my best to share my learnings along the way.

I have seen so many different types of communities and networks during my time abroad and I want to distill what I’ve learned in order to create a space where others feel welcome, understood and supported.

If you don’t have a seat at the table, then you’re probably on the menu. – Senator Elizabeth Warren

Curious to know if any others have felt more strongly about business, current events or politics lately? Drop me a line in the comments below or on social media, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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