Girls Government is a program run by MPP Bhutila Karpoche, to introduce young women to the political environment, get politically active, and consider politics as a career option. This is a non-partisan initiative that was launched in 2008 and has been implemented in ridings across Ontario by MPPs from all political parties. Once a year, grade 8 girls from a junior public school in Parkdale–High Park participate.
2018-2019 Girls Government
The school participating in the program is Parkdale Junior and Senior Public School. They pick a project – something that involves them going through different levels of government and develop it over the school year. This year, the girls have chosen to work on the topic of ‘Period Poverty’.
Over the course of monthly meetings, the girls work directly with the MPP to develop the policy initiative and learn ways to effectively push that policy initiative forward. The girls advanced their research and communication skills writing letters to various Ministers at both the Federal and Provincial governments and learned the importance of engaging the media by writing letters to the editor.
As part of the program, the girls tour Queen’s Park, host a press conference, and attend Question Period. They also had a full day of meetings with the Minister of Health and Long Term Care Christine Elliott, Speaker Ted Arnott, and Official Opposition critic for Women’s Issues MPP Suze Morrison.
At Queen’s Park, the girls advocated for free period products like pads and tampons in public washrooms such as libraries, schools, and communities. The girls also got a closer look at women’s life in politics.
On May 28, the International Day of Action on Women’s Health, Karpoche will take the Girls Government students to Ottawa for a full-day trip to Parliament Hill.