Community & Current Events

Minister Patty Hajdu on being a woman in cabinet

By: Jill Buchner
Minister Patty Hajdu on being a woman in cabinet

Photography by Izabela Pioro Author: Jill Buchner

Community & Current Events

Minister Patty Hajdu on being a woman in cabinet

By: Jill Buchner

Patty Hajdu is a mother of two, former executive of a Thunder Bay, Ont. shelter and longtime women's rights activist. She's new to politics, though, and was fresh off a landslide victory to be come MP when she was named Minister of Status of Women. 

On battling for the ballot
"Learning how to be competitive in a campaign and throw a few punches, metaphorically speaking, was a little uncomfortable for me."

On what women bring to politics
"We collaborate and we listen very well. And I think we have a different style of leadership. I hate to say this in absolutes, because everything happens on a continuum, but I think women have a different way of relating to each other, and we bring that to the board table."

On the experience that prepped her for politics
"Running a homeless shelter created a determination in me to do the work with values i believed in, regardless of external pressure. In politics, you're never going to please all people, so you have to be comfortable with opposing perspectives."

 

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Patty Hajdu with PM Justin Trudeau at shelter. Photography by Adam Scotti

On paying it forward
"I have been mentored by many wonderful women and men who have taken an interest in my success. Now it's my honour to pass that on to young women and men who are striving to succeed in their own realms."

On women who inspire her
"So many women have inspired me, and they're almost all regular women. My aunt, who raised me until I was 12, was very passionate about education and academics, and a very strong-willed person."

On her wish for the selfie generation
"I wish young girls could grow up free from worries about body size, hair colour, and clothes. When you're so focused on the exterior, it eliminates time you need to develop those other assets that allow you to contribute to your fullest capacity."

On finding balance
"I think the phrase about women 'having it all' is a little flawed. I don't know if I want it all; something has to give. I'm a terrible housecleaner, but I;ve raised two kids, completed a master's [degree], run for politics and won. I've had time to do these things because I've let go of some expectations of what it means to be a 'good woman.'"

On what she's reading
13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl (Penguin Canada) by Mona Awad, $20. "It's a fascinating novel that reflects on the pressure to conform to a specific size."

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Minister Patty Hajdu on being a woman in cabinet

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