Carolyn Jack is the current Chair of EVBC, succeeding Janet Wiegand who founded EVBC and has been invaluable contributor at the provincial and national levels. Carolyn Jack has enjoyed a long tenure on the board of the Candian Women Voters Congress and looks forward to expanding EV`s membership base in the coming months.
We are committed to working to increase women's representation among elected officials. In keeping with Equal Voice's goal to help create a climate in which more women will be elected to help govern, we are forming an action group dedicated to publicly raising the issue of under-representation of women in British Columbia, both in our legislature and in our national Parliament.
October 20, 2015
12 BC WOMEN ELECTED TO HOUSE OF COMMONS
Despite dramatic results, no meaningful change in the percentage of women elected to Parliament
Vancouver, BC - In new data released today, Equal Voice has estimated that - at recent rates of progress - it will take 89 years before Canadians will see a truly equal House of Commons. http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/nancy-peckford-and-grace-lore-when-it-comes-to-gender-parity-in-parliament-better-is-always-possible
Please find below detailed information on women elected in Election 2015.
BRITISH COLUMBIA: 5 pt DROP IN WOMEN'S REPRESENTATION
TOTAL ELECTED WOMEN: 12
PERCENTAGE OF MPs: 28.5%
In 2011, 33.3% of BC's MPs were women. Unfortunately, the 2015 result constitutes a 5 point drop in the representation of women in the federal BC caucus.
This reflects the lower percentage of candidates on the ballot for the four main parties. In this election, 36% of main party candidates in British Columbia were women; in 2011, BC led the nation with 41%.
BC's elected women are:
Jody Wilson Raybould
"Equal Voice congratulates all the women MPs and salutes the hundreds of women who put their names forward across the country to participate in our democracy," said EVBC chair Carolyn Jack, "Their commitment and passion is an inspiration and encouragement for other women to run. And, we must get more women to run. Quite simply - we need more women's names on the ballots in order to get more women in the House. We are disappointed that BC's representation has dropped from 33.3% to 28.5%, and call on all parties to renew their efforts to recruit qualified women for their rosters."
During the election period, two new Equal Voice groups started in BC - one in Victoria and one at UBC. "More and more women and men are becoming engaged in this fundamental issue of democracy," said Jack, "People want a more equal future for themselves, their daughters, and grand-daughters. The growth in Equal Voice is very encouraging."
For interviews and further information, please contact:
CAROLYN JACK, CHAIR, EQUAL VOICE BC cell: 604-970-3234
The news is not, however, good everywhere. In the vast majority of cities, women still fell short of the 50 per cent mark. In both Nanaimo and Burnaby, only two of eight councillors are women. A similar mix of success and shortcomings exists in smaller cities. Fort St. John did not elect any women to council, but it continues to be led by a woman; incumbent Mayor Lori Ackerman was acclaimed. Women only constitute one-third of the councils in Cranbrook and Prince George.
Furthermore, women are not winning the job of mayor at the same rate. In this election, only 25 per cent of mayoral candidates were women. Nearly half of the province’s mayoral races had no women running. In the end, across the 162 municipalities in B.C., only 45 women were elected as mayor (just under 28 per cent).
Apart from Victoria and Surrey, women took the top spot in Chilliwack, Delta, Nelson, and Whistler.
Although women ran for office in lower numbers than men — comprising just 30 per cent of candidates for council across B.C.’s 10 largest municipalities, and only 25 per cent of candidates for mayor across the province — women were more likely than men to be successful. Among women who ran for council, 38 per cent were elected. By contrast, only 25 per cent of men were elected. The same is true for mayors: 45 per cent of women, but only 35 per cent of men, who ran were elected. It may be that women are more cautious about entering the political fray, and do so only if they know they have a chance of winning. It could be that women who enter are more successful at organizing and running their campaigns in their community.
This election provided plenty of reasons to be optimistic. Civic Info B.C. reports 37 per cent of all people elected were women, up from 31 per cent in 2008. Compared with the country as a whole, B.C. is ahead of the curve. According to The Federation of Canadian Municipalities, across the entire country women only form 16 per cent of mayors and 26 per cent of councillors.
However, women still have a long way to go before we achieve the goal of equal representation. Not only are the vast majority of mayors still men, but Vancouver is one of the few major cities in Canada that has never elected a woman to the municipality’s top spot. The systemic under-representation of other groups, including ethnic minorities, is also a pervasive reality. Members of some groups — such as ethnic minority women — may suffer a double disadvantage.
In 2014, the rise of women in politics in Canada was called “unmistakable” and “unstoppable” by pundits; women led five provinces and one territory. Just a few months later, however, the number was down to two. It is simply too early to claim gender equality in politics in Canada.
The power of municipal politics is that it can act as a bridge to provincial and federal politics. When women participate at the municipal level, it often opens the door to better representation at higher levels of government. Women, like men, have a vested interest in all areas of policy and their input and diverse voices are essential. Current levels of representation are still too low.
What is clear is that when women run, they win. We need more women opting into the political process. Women are more likely to enter politics when they are asked to do so, and political actors — particularly political parties — need to reach out to and recruit more women. When they do, their chances of success are high and, when that happens, everyone wins.
Grace Lore and Edana Beauvais are PhD candidates, and Alison James-Lomax a PhD student in the UBC department of political science, in association with Equal Voice.
Equal Voice, Canada’s multi-partisan organization dedicated to encouraging more women elected to government, is publishing a full report on this data shortly. www.equalvoice.ca
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