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Equal Voice launches Overview on Women and Electoral Reform

Sep 16, 2016

 

Many Canadians are grappling with the prospect of changes to Canada’s First Past the Post federal electoral system. The current consultation phase being undertaken by the Special Committee on Electoral Reform represents an enormous opportunity for women to better understand the limitations and opportunities of electoral systems generally.

 

This is why Equal Voice has generated a specific overview that articulates the strengths and weaknesses of three categories of electoral systems that are being considered by parties, non-governmental organizations, and the media. It is designed to promote an enhanced understanding among Canadians of what is at stake for women in this process. We expect it will also serve as a catalyst for further dialogue.

 

Fundamentally, given that, in 2016, women are major contributors to all aspects of Canadian society, it is clear we need far more of them to lend their energy and expertise to politics. Women currently comprise just 26 percent of federal Members of Parliament.  Just three of Canada’s 13 premiers are women. Canada ranks 62nd internationally for women’s representation in national Parliaments. We can and must do better.

 

As a national, multi-partisan organization, Equal Voice has chosen to refrain from endorsing a particular electoral system. This said, we believe in devising a made-in-Canada solution that considers the effects of any and all changes to the political process writ large on women's participation in politics.

 

What we know is that at every stage of the current system, there is a significant opportunity to improve the conditions under which women opt into politics, particularly as prospective candidates. While political parties are key in this process, they are not the only factor and they alone cannot fix what is broken.

 

In general, many aspects of politics must change if the electoral arena is to be regarded by many more women as a rewarding and realistic proposition that leverages their talents and leadership abilities.

 

As this overview emphasizes, the current nomination process overseen by the respective federal parties is, without a doubt, one of the major barriers/opportunities available to women who seek to become candidates.

 

The adoption of a new electoral system could also hold significant promise for women in Canada. But it is all in the design. As this overview reveals, no system is perfect and, therefore, it is crucial that Canadians pay close attention to the details of the discussion and what it means for women in Canadian politics. 

 

DOWNLOAD Equal Voice's Overview on Women and Electoral Systems below.

 

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Thanks also to the Government of Canada (Status of Women & Canadian Heritage) for their financial support.