“My first question is do you have any guys involved?”

Parks and Environment Committee, Sept. 9, 2016

“I did visit your website. My first question is do you have any guys involved? asked Councillor Sarah Doucette to three members from the Toronto Youth Environmental Council (TYEC) at the Parks and Environment Committee today, to which Councillor Mike Layton responded with a “Hey!” But Doucette went on, “I see this as a very lady woman orientated committee, which I appreciate, but we do need to get some of the guys involved as well.” The speakers explained that their website had not been updated to include newer male members. After the meeting was over the councillor explained her intention. “It was encouraged that we look at their website … this is a new group to Toronto. I went to their website and their five executives are all young women. I didn’t mean anything much by it; I was trying to break the ice, but I want to make sure that as a councillor I find that men and women do think differently, we all bring something of value to the table, so it was half joking, half trying to put them at ease speaking here. It gave them a bit of a chuckle, which was good.” The three high school students took it all in stride. “It’s interesting, personally as someone who is involved in environmental work I’ve done a bunch of reading, this idea [that environmentalism is more popular with women] wasn’t too foreign to me,” said Alice Cheng, president of the youth group. “I really appreciate it because it’s a good thing to note going into the future how to tailor our style of advertising and recruitment.” One of the other young council members has noticed the trend at school. “I think that typically environmentalism is something that in terms of gender there’s a disparity between women and men involved,” said Ajantha Nadesalinjam, program director of the TYEC. “I’m also the environmental member on my school student council [at North Toronto Collegiate Institute] and historically we get far more female applicants than male applicants.”