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Centuries’ Wait for First Woman President of the United States Continues

Nov 09, 2016

 

After more than 230 years, unsuccessful bid of first woman candidate for major US political party illustrates notable sexist and misogynist hurdles women still face across the globe to win elected office 

 

OTTAWA, November 9, 2016 – A key lesson from last night’s surprise election of political newcomer Donald Trump over a far more qualified woman candidate is that sexism continues to be a formidable motivating force at the ballot box, say Equal Voice. 

 

Feminism has not come nearly as far as some might think. 

 

"This election outcome represents a significant missed opportunity.  Secretary Hillary Clinton demonstrated decades of experience, a progressive platform, an expert campaign team and a solid ground game. Unfortunately, it was not enough,” said Nancy Peckford, Executive Director of Equal Voice.

 

“Secretary Clinton lost to a man with no political experience who espoused sexist and xenophobic views about women and other minorties," she added.

 

Across every group – including whites, black and Latinos - more men than women voted Trump, with white men supporting the Republican candidate, 63 percent to 31 percent for Clinton.

 

For women, the election campaign revealed deep divides regarding how Americans view a highly ambitious and competent women seeking the highest office. Throughout, Clinton was characterized in extremely negative and gendered language at nearly every turn.

 

“Obviously, there is far more work to be done.  The election outcome is profoundly disappointing but we will channel our disappointment into an even firmer resolve and greater action to close the gender gap in politics,” underscored Peckford.  “Women - and the men who support gender equality  -  fully appreciate that women’s political success is often tenuous." 

 

Here in Canada, political parties are clearly enthusiastic to leverage women's contributions, Peckford noted.   House leaders for the governing and Official Opposition parties are women.  Rona Ambrose currently serves as Interim Leader of the Conservative Party.  Lisa Raitt and Kellie Leitch are both vying for the leadership of the party. 

 

Further, earlier this month, federal Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu announced a one million dollar partnership with Equal Voice in order to support EV's efforts to address the democratic deficit by reducing the barriers to women seeking and serving in elected office.

 

Minister Hajdu also serves in a gender balanced cabinet, a historic first, and only one of five countries where there is parity at the national cabinet table.  Even so, women comprise just one in four of Members of Parliament, or 26 percent.  

 

“Given Canada's rank of 64th in the world for its representation of women, EV fully recognizes that women need to seek and serve in elected office in far greater numbers if we are to close this pernicios and historic gender gap.”

 

Equal Voice is a multi-partisan organization working to increase the number of women elected, at all levels of government in Canada.  

 

Despite a gender equal cabinet, women comprise just 26 percent of Canada's Members of Parliament. Municipally, on average, women comprise only 26 percent of councilors and 16 percent of mayors.

 

Global ranking of countries according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s list of Women in National Parliaments: http://www.ipu.org/WMN-e/classif.htm

 

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Contacts:  Nancy Peckford:  nancy@equalvoice.ca, 613-854-9793

 

Susan King:  susan@equalvoice.ca, 613-724-1518

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