ANALYSIS - Inching Foward: Women Candidates Progress Over Time

Did you know that if all the women that have ever been elected as Members of Parliament sat in the House of Commons today, they would not even fill the 338 seats in the Chamber?

 

 

 

Is incremental change enough?

We’ve looked at the numbers of the Canadian federal elections for the last few decades, starting in 1979, and in doing so it’s evident that women’s representation at the federal level has seen only marginal progress.

10 women-identifying candidates were elected in 1979 out of 282 seats (3.5 %).

In the 2015 federal election, that number reached only 88 of 338 seats (26%).

Three decades later, heading into the 2019 federal election, Equal Voice knows Canada must, and can, do better for women's representation.

Canada has seen a reasonable increase of nominated women candidates throughout this time period, reaching 535 women candidates in 2015, compared to 195 women in 1979.

 ELECTION YEAR

# OF WOMEN ELECTED

# OF WOMEN NOT ELECTED

TOTAL WOMEN CANDIDATES

 1979

10

185

195

 1980

14

204

218

 1984

27

186

213

 1988

39

262

301

 1993

53

422

475

 1997

62

348

410

 2000

62

311

373

 2004

66

326

392

 2006

64

316

380

 2008

69

376

445

 2011

76

375

451

 2015

88

447

535

So the question remains: why is change in Canada so incremental?

Among the many reasons, is the often cited pattern that suggests women are often nominated in ridings where the party they represent is less likely to win.

Expert witnesses cited on the Report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women entitled ELECT HER: A ROADMAP FOR IMPROVING THE REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN IN CANADIAN POLITICS stated that “parties may present many female candidates but based on the ridings in which they run, these women have little chance of being elected.”

Equal Voice will be looking at the winnability of ridings, the barriers women and gender diverse people face, the trends seen overtime, as well as the various factors that contribute to women’s under-representation in our House of Commons through our blog and analysis series. Stay tuned!

 

NEXT WEEK: The 2019 Election – nominations, numbers, and opportunities.

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