1Gender and Political Parties in Canada
Should we be concerned about women and representation?
Gender roles in political parties historically
• Women formed ‘auxiliaries’ which emphasized traditional gender role
• Men dominated all positions, administrative and political
3Change in the 1970s with the women’s movement Movement leaders: 1
More radical groups:
4Why is it difficult for women to hold high positions in parties?
• The higher the fewer
• The more competition the fewer
–More conservative and to the right, the less women
–More progressive and to the left the more open to women
•More compatible positions on childcare, feminist social policy more closely aligned with socialist and social
•Less competition – two women leaders in NDP
Other factors at play
• Social position
–Women do not have the professional networks that men do
• Gender role
–Domestic expectations, responsibilities of women
• Lack of funding
–Lack of networks makes it harder to raise funds
–Party fundraisers often men, refuse to work for women candidates
What factors have enhanced the participation of women?
•initially made inroads in creating women’s committees in the parties and creating special party funding and
support for women candidates:
•Agnes McPhail Fund (NDP)
•Ellen Fairclough Fund (PC)
•Judy LaMarsh Fund (LIB) –Changing roles, education 8
Mandate of Difference?
• Are women able to represent a feminist mandate of difference through their participation in political parties?
–All three parties eventually supported moderate liberal feminism
–Ideological parties on the left
•NDP supported more radical prochoice positions on abortion and universal free childcare and