Kim Campbell, former defense minister and former prime minister of Canada, is one of two women to have ever been in on a G7 summit.
"Some people say, `Oh that's wonderful, you and Margaret Thatcher,' " says Campbell. "But it's not wonderful. It's a scandal."Two is not enough, Campbell told a Utah audience on Friday. Campbell, currently Canadian consul general spoke at the annual Susa Young Gates Award lunch, sponsored by the Utah Women's Political Caucus.
Two local women received awards at the conference. Millie Peterson, D-West Valley, is Utah's only female state senator. Rep. Sheryl Allen, R-Bountiful, is one of 17 women in the House. They were honored for their courage, confidence and initiative, said Susan Kuziak, who presented their awards.
"They are really us," Kuziak told an audience of mostly women at the Marriott Hotel. "They hold a mirror up. They show us what we can be."
Kuziak talked of the bills Peterson and Allen have sponsored. Allen also worked to continue the school breakfast program. During a debate on welfare reform, Peterson asked her colleagues to think of their own wives and decide how easy it would be for them to maintain a home and children, on their own, without job training. Her unique perspective is needed in the Senate, Kuziak concluded.
In accepting her award, Peterson mentioned that Utah is ranked in the lowest 11 states for numbers of women in the Legislature.
Allen also wants more women to run for office. (She once convinced a friend to run against her.) Allen quoted Susa Young Gates - daughter of Brigham and Lucy Bigelow Young, founder of the Utah Women's Press Club and Relief Society Magazine, organizer of musical academies and an energetic religious worker. Gates often said, "Keep busy in the face of dis-cour-age-ment."
Campbell said it is important to hold events like these to celebrate women. But it is also important not to act surprised that they have achieved. "My goal is to try to make women as leaders seem ordinary," she said.
The question of whether or not women deserve an equal place has been resolved, she said. They do. But not just one or two women.
"Tokenism doesn't work," she said. It is important for women to be in politics in large numbers, she said. It shouldn't be thought of us as something amazing. "That's just called democracy."
Campbell has been "first" and "only" all her life - since she was the first girl president of her grade school - and such designations, because they are so few, should be a cause for outrage not excitement, she said.