My New Passport Arrived Today

Posted on September 16, 2016

By Katherine Keeping, Vice-President, PARO Board of Directors & member of the Women In Politics- Northwestern Ontario Committee

A little over a year ago I purchased some note-cards from a local artist with images of various women gracing the face of each Canadian bill of currency. It felt inspiring to see someone envisioning women having a stronger presence. Recently the Canadian government took up this cause, receiving nominations for 460 iconic women who met their criteria. Of those 460 extraordinary individuals, 12 have now been long-listed. Attached is a link so that you can follow the process through to a new bill, which will represent the 50.4% of women who reside in Canada.


Are these numbers important? I believe they are. Today I received my new passport. To me it always feels like the first step in adventures to come. And as I flipped through the pages, so sturdy and encouraging, I noticed the images upon them. It is no longer a simple maple leaf. Other than my own passport photo, it was not until Page 30 that I saw a woman represented. And not a single picture of a woman followed that page.


Thus as I break new boundaries in my life, traveling with my new Canadian passport, I am underrepresented in the very document that grants me access to new countries and new opportunities.

And knowing that 460 women had to be narrowed down to 12 for a bill of currency, could not more be found for a passport?

If we are to look forward to parity in Canadian society as women, should we not be able to see our faces reflected back to us? As you walk through your day, where do you feel represented and where do you feel invisible?

I believe that advocating for women is not just about being heard, but also about being seen.