Better together: My daughter’s journey into female leadership at 10

Jennifer Stewart — The Honest Talk — female leadership

How a classroom campaign sparked a lesson in leadership

It was an ordinary November evening, with a seemingly typical homework task for my 10-year-old daughter. Her class was studying Canadian politics, and was holding an election for classroom mayor. The evening quickly turned into one that will be ingrained in my memory. My daughter, Max, was tasked with creating campaign stickers for her candidate — a fiery red-headed girl named Scarlett.

At school pick up earlier that day, her grin had been a bit more mischievous than usual. She had a spark and was clearly on a mission. We had to go to Michaels, buy stickers, and quickly drive home to begin what turned out to be a branding process for her good friend and candidate, Scarlett.

We spent the next hour working on a sticker design incorporating Scarlett’s campaign slogan, Better Together. In the flurry of sticker production, I asked Maxwell why Scarlett would be a good classroom mayor. She looked at me, clearly a bit confused as to why I would even ask that question. Her answer was simple and definitive: she is a good person

As I watched my daughter, determined, embark on her mini journey into Canadian politics, I found myself reflecting on the profound impact girls can have in shaping the political landscape. 

It was an ordinary November evening, yet it held the promise of something extraordinary as my daughter delved into the world of governance, female leadership, and what it means to support one another as we try to make an impact.

Jennifer Stewart-The Honest Talk-female leadership

We woke up at the crack of dawn the next morning (cue not having enough ink at home) to drive into my office to print the stickers. As the stickers came through the printer, I could see a look of pride on Max’s face. I asked her to put them in her backpack for safekeeping. She looked at me and said she would hold them — she simply couldn’t risk them getting wrinkled.

As we crafted slogans and designed campaign stickers for Scarlett, I realized that this seemingly simple class project was a profound testament to the resilience and impact of girls in politics.

It wasn’t just about winning a classroom election; it was about igniting a spark in a future generation of girls that could potentially illuminate the path for future leaders.

In the innocence and passion of a grade 5 class election, I found a beacon of hope — a reminder that the future of politics rests not just in the hands of seasoned politicians but also in the unwavering spirit of girls like Scarlett and Maxwell, fueled by determination, compassion, and an unyielding belief in the power of their voices.

As 10-year-old Scarlett’s campaign slogan very simply said, we are better together. Yes, Scarlett and Max. We certainly are.  


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