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After BC's Election, Women Comprise One-Third of BC Legislature

May 16, 2013

 

For immediate release: May 16, 2013
 
Vancouver, B.C. – For the first time, more than one-third of BC’s provincial legislators are women. At least 29 women will be heading to Victoria to be representatives in the 85-seat legislative chamber, and one of them will be the government’s leader. 
 
BC Liberal leader Christy Clark is expected to become the province’s first elected female premier, in an anticipated by-election. If a male MLA steps down to provide her with his seat, BC will have 30 women MLAs, 35.3 per cent of the province’s elected representatives; if Clark takes a female MLA’s seat, the legislature will be 34.1 per cent female. 
 
This is an important notch up from the previous legislature’s 32 per cent female representation. BC’s elected chamber is now the only legislature nation-wide with women holding more than one-third of the seats, and has the highest percentage of women's representation of any legislature. While the absolute numbers of female MLAs is an incremental increase over the past legislature’s total of 27 women, the 2013 election result also marks a historic high in terms of women’s representation in British Columbia’s elected body.
 
“British Columbians have never seen so many women in the legislature before. These numbers are encouraging and demonstrate that women are able political candidates and voters are ready to elect them,” says Carolyn Jack, Chair of Equal Voice BC.
 
“It was great to see gender equality in the leader’s debate, with both Clark and Green leader Jane Sterk taking part. However, despite the positive results in Tuesday’s vote, we are still a long way from gender equality in the representation of women in BC’s highest democratic institution. We again call on political parties to nominate more female candidates in winnable ridings in the next election.”
 
According to Elections BC preliminary results, here are the number of women MLAs elected by party:
Liberals         15*
NDP 13
Independent    1
*this number may change to 16, depending on the Clark by-election
 
With current results, 30 percent of the Liberal caucus will be female; 39 percent of the NDP caucus. 
 
The major provincial parties had a mixed record in terms of candidate nominations in this election: 
 
- The BC NDP nominated the most female candidates (32), or 38 per cent of the party’s overall candidates; 
- The BC Liberals nominated 30 female candidates, or 35 per cent of overall candidates;
- The Green Party nominated 13 female candidates, or 21 per cent of overall candidates; and
- The Conservative Party nominated 7 female candidates, or 12 per cent of overall candidates.
 
The total number of NDP women candidates, however, is down from 2009 when the party put forward 41 women. The BC Liberals’ thirty female candidates in this election were a high for the party. In 2009, there were 25 women Liberals in the race.
 
Of the total number of Liberal women candidates in the 2013 vote, one-half (15) won their seats, as compared to 64 per cent of male Liberal candidates (35/55). For the NDP,  41 per cent of its women candidates won (13/32), compared with nearly 38 per cent (20/53) of male candidates.
 
                                                            - 30- 
 
For more information or to speak with Equal Voice BC, please contact:
Cathy Huth
Vice Chair, Equal Voice BC
cathylhuth@gmail.com
 
Carolyn Jack
Chair, Equal Voice BC
carolynjackconsulting@gmail.com
 
Nancy Peckford
Executive Director, Equal Voice
613-292-7941
npeckford@equalvoice.ca
 
About Equal Voice 
 
Equal Voice is a national, multi-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to electing more women to all levels of political office in Canada. Founded in 2001,  Equal Voice has 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.

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