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Karen Vecchio, Chair, Standing Committee on the Status of Women

House of Commons

April 2019
42nd Parliament, 1st Session

Reference:

https://www.ourcommons.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/FEWO/report-14

Women represent only 35{802238075386540f56ff51177b29e561e146d6ad749d3ad56f8d94eb00021cb8} of all legislators in Canada, and remain under-represented at all levels of government. Increasing women’s representation in electoral politics is essential because it can lead to greater gender equality and to better social, economic and political outcomes for all Canadians.

Many factors may deter women from entering electoral politics. For example, women tend to have lower levels of interest in electoral politics compared to men. Furthermore, gendered stereotypes and gender-based discrimination can affect both women’s decisions to enter electoral politics and their experiences as politicians. Women can also encounter barriers at the recruitment and nomination stages of running for elected office.

Once elected, women can also encounter barriers that might prevent them from achieving full and equal participation in a legislature. For example, a lack of gender-sensitive and family-friendly facilities, gender-biased media treatment, and gender-based violence and harassment can negatively affect a woman’s experience working in electoral politics.

The Committee’s report provides possible solutions to the barriers women face when entering electoral politics. The recommendations included in the report are intended to provide guidance to the Government of Canada on measures that could be implemented to help improve the representation of women at all levels of electoral politics in Canada. The Committee’s recommendations are intended to:

  • improve the collection of intersectional data on women’s political participation;
  • shift societal perceptions regarding women’s political participation;
  • support organizations and projects that promote the political participation of women from diverse backgrounds;
  • encourage political parties to run more female candidates;
  • address the gender-biased media treatment of female politicians.

The Committee commends legislatures on their efforts to foster gender-sensitive and family-friendly political workplaces and looks forward to further initatives in this area.

The Committee believes that the implementation of its recommendations by the Government of Canada and the consideration of its observations will help improve women’s representation, retention and experiences in electoral politics in Canada.