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Women face political roadblocks: Prof - Ottawa Sun

Jun 19, 2009

 

Public opinion may favour having more women involved in federal politics, but it's difficult to tell if that translates into more votes during an election, says an elections expert.

 
Melissa Haussman, a political science professor at Carleton University, said more research needs to be done to see how women fare when running against a male opponent.
 
Out of the 11 Ottawa-area federal ridings, Cheryl Gallant, MP for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, was the only female elected in the 2008 election.
 
Research has shown that in close campaigns, candidate gender matters less than party affiliation.
 
Where women find roadblocks to their candidacy is at the riding association level, where they are selected in "unwinnable" ridings or not offered the same campaign resources and support granted male candidates running under the same party flag, claimed Haussman.
 
"The net effect is the same in that women get treated as weaker candidates by the party apparatus even though they are not," she said.
 
"We have to overcome this labelling. If women are given a fair chance we will do equally, or better than men."
 
She said voter reluctance is often used as an excuse at the riding association level not to support women who are willing to run.

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