With respect to the initiative to help young people get into politics, as a young woman from Richmond County, who is currently in the fourth year of her Political Science degree, I am beyond insulted by the proposed project.

I am almost ready to graduate. Nobody held my hand. In fact, my interest in political science came from Richmond Academy, from a Law class. It was intriguing and interesting, and offered to both male and female students, as it should be.

Saying there is a “glass ceiling” for women in politics is a moot point. Women can only be in politics if they run. Supporting women instead of all disenfranchised, is insulting to the young men who are struggling to get by, whose education is sub-par due to lack of access and programs in areas where the schools are unable to teach Political Science. We all need to learn more about the government and how our country is run.

To insinuate that women in disenfranchised areas are somehow special, different, or need an extra push, especially in the democratic political arena, is frankly a disappointment.

Brenda Chisholm-Beaton is mayor of Port Hawkesbury because the town voted for her, a qualified candidate, who happens to be female. Her position is proof that this Female Leadership School is a ridiculous idea. Young women do not need to be told that because they are female they need extra help. Instead, they should take an interest in Political Science.

All political parties (both federal and provincial) are suffering a loss of young members. They would be happy to help like-minded youth learn how politics works, as they have for generations. Engagement and voting is at an all-time low. Invest this money in voter education, and in civics classes at schools (this is barely offered, at least it was sub-par when I attended from 2009-2012).

Women are not special flowers who need to be held up against all odds. Politics is also not a field for protecting feelings. It is an area where hard decisions need to be made. It is not an easy job, and coddling potential electors is, frankly, the opposite of what I would want in an elected representative.

I have nothing against female politicians – obviously, as I am going to be doing a Masters’ next year in Political Science, what I have something against is this insinuation that women from Cape Breton need help to become worthy, adequate leaders. No thank you!

If Mrs. Chisholm-Beaton wants to talk about increasing education for all youth in Cape Breton – whether they are female, male, First Nations, or otherwise – I would happily support a proposal. Gender-based education is insulting not only to the young men who are also struggling, but to the young women who are carving out a path in politics despite your insinuation that they are not good enough.

Shaylynn Hayes