The Municipality of the County of Richmond council came under fire in February for declining to fund locals wanting to attend a leadership conference aimed at getting more women involved in politics.
Now three women, all political newcomers, are vying for a seat at the council table.
Richmond County's five-member council was one of 16 municipalities and First Nations asked to defray costs of child care for local women looking to attend the conference being held by Government FOCUS (Female Objectives Cape Breton Unama'ki Strait).
The conference was aimed at getting more women involved in municipal and band council elections.
At the time, then-warden Brian Marchand argued women aren't at a disadvantage in getting into politics.
"There are many women in politics right across the spectrum from provincial to federal, so I don't think they're at a disadvantage in any sort of a way as opposed to men."
Statements by the warden and council drew ire from women in various levels of government, including Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan.
For Amanda Mombourquette, statements from the warden and councillors served as a stark reminder that women need to be in council chambers.
"We need to be sending a message to women and people of diverse backgrounds that they're welcome and that they can be leaders in their county," said Mombourquette.
Richmond County has had women on council in the past. Long-time councillor Gail Johnston lost her seat in the 2016 election.
Mombourquette, the community innovation lead with the Nova Scotia Community College, is making her first run in municipal politics in Richmond County's District 4.
Melanie Sampson is running in District 3 against Marchand. Sampson, a career accountant, now also teaches business and accounting at NSCC.
Sampson said council's decision wasn't the deciding factor for her to run. She was approached by several community members who urged her to put her to enter.
But the events of last February were certainly on her mind.
"How much did [council's decision] encourage me to run? Probably very little. But how much does it encourage me to win? Actually, quite a bit," said Sampson.
Concerns about stigma and misogyny toward women in leadership roles are an issue for many women when it comes to politics.
In the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, mayoral candidate Amanda McDougall has spoken out about fellow candidates using her pregnancy against her.
In neighbouring Port Hawkesbury, incumbent mayoral candidate Brenda Chisholm-Beaton wrote an essay in September outlining some of the verbal abuse she's dealt with since being elected.
Carolyn Clackdoyle said the leadership conference also factored into her decision to run.
Clackdoyle is running in District 2. She has a master's degree in urban and regional planning and worked in community planning.
She's originally from Isle Madame but lived in Ontario, France, and the U.S. before returning home this winter to be closer to her mother.
Clackdoyle watched the conference online. Both the quality of the stream, thanks to a poor internet connection, and the conference itself made her want to do something.
She wants to see the internet in the area improve but she also wanted to support another woman in her bid to get on council. Clackdoyle waited to see if another woman would run, but when none came forward she decided to offer.
Advice for would-be politicians
Mombourquette spoke at the leadership conference earlier this year. She has one piece of advice for women looking to get into politics — talk to other women.
"Reach out to the women who are leaders in your community, reach out to the women who are in elected positions, and dimes to doughnuts they'll probably answer your questions and give you insight into what it's really like in the world of politics for women."
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