EV MISSION

 

 

About Equal Voice

 

Equal Voice is a national, bilingual, multi-partisan organization dedicated to electing more women to all levels of political office in Canada.

 

Equal Voice regards the equal representation of women in Canada's Parliament, in our provincial/territorial legislatures, and on municipal and band councils, as a fundamental question of fairness for women in terms of their access to Canada’s democratic institutions. 

 

Founded in 2001,  Equal Voice brings women and men together from across the political spectrum in its nine chapters across the country.  They include chapters in: British Columbia, Alberta (south and north), Ontario (Toronto and Ottawa), Saskatchewan, three of the four Atlantic provinces (Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and New Brunswick), as well as a dynamic national youth chapter. . 

 

The Equal Voice National Advisory Board includes some of Canada’s most prominent women politicians - all groundbreakers in their time – representing three political parties.

 

Equal Voice promotes the election of women by:

 

  • Working  with all political parties to increase the nominations of women candidates; 
  • Promoting electoral  and other changes that would increase the numbers of women in politics; 
  • Conducting outreach with young women to inspire and engage them in politics as a future career choice; 
  • Encouraging women to run for office through programs such as our comprehensive, bilingual on-line campaign school; 
  • Raising awareness about the impact of women's under-representation; 
  • Celebrating women in politics; and 
  • Communicating and implementing EV's goals and activities through innovative programming, Equal Voice's chapters, our dynamic website, regular newsletters, media releases, Twitter and Facebook activity, and by hosting major events. 

 

Equal Voice's Strategic planning process (2013 - 2018)

 

Equal Voice's National Board began a strategic planning process in the fall of 2013. After convening nearly all of Equal Voice's 16 board members during a two day in person meeting, EV identified five pillars of activity/focus. These include:

 

1/Equipping women to run;

2/Encouraging/supporting/defending elected women;

3/Engaging with political parties;

4/Establishing/honing partnerships with relevant stakeholders;

5/Enhancing organizational capacity  

 

 

You can view the Equal Voice strategic planning chart by clicking on the link below. EV looks forward to providing more information on how it is actioning these pillars in the coming months. 

 

 

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Why do we need gender balanced governments?

 

While women have made many gains in the political realm over the past twenty years, progress has been slow. From about 1993 until 2011, the numbers of women elected to the House of Commons hovered around the 20% mark.  Fortunately, in this past federal election in May of 2011, Equal Voice celebrated a new record when nearly 25% women (24.6%), 76 women in total, were elected to the House of Commons.  Women are over 50% of Canada's population and currently comprise an average of 25% of Canada's municipal councils, provincial legislatures and the House of Commons.  

 

Canada's international ranking on women's political representation is currently 46th (as of July 2013). Despite the notable gains in the recent federal election, Canada still has fewer women elected than most of Europe, parts of Africa, and Australia (see the Interparliamentary Union's web site for a full listing.)

Polling data consistently demonstrates women care about different issues. The United Nations has emphasized that equality in decision-making is essential to the empowerment of women, noting a critical mass is needed before legislatures produce public policy representing women's concerns.

Equal Voice aims to increase awareness about the need for gender balanced government.


Democracy should be a genuine partnership between men and women

 

How can a democracy be deemed legitimate if it fails to represent half its population? Canadians value fairness and equality.  Clearly, democracy should be a genuine partnership of men and women. To this end,  Canada adopted a Charter of Rights and Freedoms that reinforces this belief by guaranteeing equality for women. Despite these values, women's representation at all levels of government in Canada remains relatively low.  


Canada has made international commitments to change

 

Now we need action from our political parties, our governments and women and men who want to see more women on the ballot.  At the 1995 United Nations World Conference on Women, Canada committed to "take measures to ensure women's equal access to and full participation in power structures and decision-making" and to "increase women's capacity to participate in decision-making and leadership."


What Can We Do in Canada:

 

Being Her, Supporting Her and Celebrating Her. 

 

Far more women need to run in Canada for all levels of government. During the last federal election (2011), just over 30 percent of candidates for the five major parties were women, a historic high but nowhere near where we'd like it to be.

Canadians have said time and time again, including in our own national Environics poll, that they want more opportunities to vote for women.  Political will and a commitment on the part of leaders and their political parties is crucial. As Canadians saw in this past federal election, when parties focus on fielding higher numbers of women in winnable ridings, the numbers will go up!

Equal Voice encourages political parties to be proactive in recruiting and supporting women candidates to run in winnable ridings. Parties may decide to tackle this challenge in different ways and all parties have to identify processes that work for them. 

EV also aims to encourage and equip women to take that crucial step to put their name forward, whether it is to seek a party nomination, stand for office for a municipal or band council, become involved as a volunteer in a riding association, or simply support a woman you know who is seeking elected office. To this end, EV runs a number of programs to help women become more comfortable with the prospect of running. 

To level the playing field, many parliaments across the world are creating more opportunities for women by: 1/ recruiting and training women candidates; 2/offering family friendly work environments; and 3/ introducing measures such as proportional representation, electoral financing reforms, targets, constitutional reforms, and public awareness campaigns.

Equal Voice knows that more women in politics will improve the opportunities of other underrepresented Canadians and create a healthier, more democratic political system.


Equal Voice’s™ Ethical Code of Conduct

 

Get involved... in equal voice chapters from coast to coast.
Find one near you, or perhaps even start a chapter.

Getting to the Gate Online Campaign School:
For women of all ages, back- grounds & walks of life interest- ed in running for public office.

MORE INFO ON GETTING ELECTED TO PUBLIC OFFICE

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Thanks also to Status of Women Canada for providing funding to our "Creating the Conditions for Women's Electoral Success" Pilot Project.