Parting with Tradition: Jan Reimer on being Edmonton’s first & only female mayor

It’s been 28 years since Jan Reimer was elected Edmonton’s mayor. In this feature interview Reimer reflects on her tenure as a three term city councillor and two term mayor beginning with the story of how sleeping city councillors inspired her to run.

During her time on Edmonton City Council Reimer pitched a number of battles against tradition and the stereotype of what a mayor should be. For example, she refused to wear the ceremonial chain of office and fought to have the title of alderman changed to a title more befitting of a female city councillor.

In this interview Reimer talks about the “critical mass” that Edmonton City Council achieved by electing 7 women and 6 men into office and how she believes that lead to progressive change within the city.

There were challenges though — managing a fractious city council that included one alderman dumping a pitcher of water on another, and governing during a time when female mayors were not taken as seriously as their male counterparts.

In this episode we also talk about a new report, the McKinsey report, that shows how gender inequality is hurting the economy and how corporations and businesses are failing miserably when it comes to promoting and keeping women in leadership roles.

Big thanks to Edmonton Heritage Council for funding to make this episode of The Broadcast possible. And thanks, always, to Switches for the use of their music. If you want to skip to the heart of this episode, beginning with the interview with Jan Reimer, start listening at the 7 minute mark.

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