Canadian Studies – November 7th
Women in Canadian Politics
Women now make up 25% of Parliament.
Canada ranks 38 in the world for Women within the government.
Growth of women in political positions inches upwards starting in 1984 slow
in 1997-2006 and began again to increase
o Voter bias: Canadian voters discriminate – no evidence to support this
o Sacrificial Lamb: nominated to run in a constituency with no hope of
In 2000, women were just as likely to be elected as men were –
suggests that women were no longer willing to be sacrificial
Things changed in 1980 – Volatility: difficult to predict which
ridings were hopeless or not, women weren’t willing to be
o The Nomination Process: still somewhat of a barrier – not the barrier
it once was however (in 2004, Canada’s election law changed. Limits
were introduced on how much an individual could contribute to an
election campaign. Also, the amount a candidate could spend to get
elected was also limited).
Women were not as integrated into the sorts of social
networks that would raise the kind of money that a desirable
constituency would need. It’s harder for women to attract
Other possible explanations:
o Canada’s First-Past-The-Post Electoral system
More women are elected in PR (Proportional Representation)
PR systems have greater turnover of legislators which creates
more opportunities for women
The nomination process is more centralized so parties can
make sure women are nominated
Any lack of women on the party list is very visible
Vote for those on a list – centrally put together
In Canada – parties don’t have the same incentives to
nominate/elect women candidates
Underrepresentation of Urban Areas
The allocation of seats departs significantly from the on
person one vote principle
Urban areas have fewer seats than their share of the
Women are much more likely to be candidates in urban
Rules of the Game
o Quebec also has a fptp electoral system
o Urban ridings are just as underrepresented
o Women make up a larger percentage of the National Assembly
o Despite the electoral system and under-representation of urban
ridings, women made important gains between 1984 and 1997.
NDP rules the world. 2011 – women gained nearly 40% of the seats.
Evidence that when people are elected, they’re more dissatisfied with being an MP
than their male colleagues.
Violent imagery used to describe politics insinuates that politics is really a mans
world. Women don’t really belong*****. Media coverage is often cited by women for
the reason that they don’t want to run.
Women news coverage often include age, children, if they’re married and their
appearance – much less found in men. None of this has anything to do with politics?
Women are less likely to pay attention to politics, know about politics, be
involved in politics than men.