|Sub-Category:||GENERAL & EQUAL OPPORTUNITY|
|Club:||Trenton & District|
BACKGROUND - Women represent 50% of the population. Women have different perspectives, insights, political preferences, and priorities than men. In 1921 Canada elected the first female Member of Parliament (MP), Agnes McPhail (Vecchio, 2019). In 2019, Canada elected 98 female MPs while historic, only represents 29% of elected seats (Government of Canada, 2019). This continued underrepresentation results in decision and policy making not representing all groups’ perspectives and insights. By nominating few women and electing even fewer, the diversity of women’s views cannot be accurately represented (Thomas, Bodet, 2013).
To achieve better economic, social, and political outcomes requires us to understand gender equality exists in Canadian politics. Vecchio (2019) and the Standing Committee on the Status of Women identified seven barriers to increase women representation in government: gender stereotypes and discrimination, women lacking confidence in their abilities, lack of political parties actively recruiting women candidates, lack of financial support for campaigns, lack of family-friendly and gender sensitive workplaces, gender-based harassment and violence, and gender-biased media treatment.
The Standing Committee on the Status of Women stated implementation of their 14 recommendations would increase and retain female politicians. Their recommendations include:
• publicly available data collection of various politically active women’s groups including community and political parties as well as barriers faced by minority women and women in electoral politics,
• developing a public education campaign whereby all federal, provincial, and territories incorporate gender stereotypes and female political participation in their educational curricula,
• ensuring gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) is applied to all provincial departments and associated programs, initiatives, and strategies,
• increasing funding to organizations which promote political engagement and empowerment of women including training,
• encouraging job shadowing of politicians at all levels of government,
• develop a strategy to encourage women with diverse and/or Indigenous backgrounds to participate in electoral politics,
• ensuring and report on transparency in the nomination process,
• promoting goal setting and public reporting of registered parties and registered electoral district associations to nominate, achieve gender parity on their boards, and
• encouraging all jurisdictions throughout Canada to make more gender diverse legislatures, and fund awareness campaigns and training programs regarding traditional and social media’s gender bias and harassment of female politicians (Vecchio, 2019).
The Standing Committee on the Status of Women’s observations included asking the:
• House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedures and House Affairs (PROC) to study initiatives to eliminate potential gender bias linked to the design of voting ballots, encourage voluntary quotas by registered political parties and publicly report how they meet these quotas,
• Speaker to study initiatives to prevent and discourage gender-based heckling and look at services and initiatives which promote an inclusive, family-friendly political workplaces which are also gender sensitive (Vecchio, 2019).
Vecchio (2019) stated, “The Committee believes that the implementation of its recommendations by the Government of Canada and the consideration of its observations will help improve women’s representation, retention and experiences in electoral politics in Canada. (pg. 3)”. These recommendations and observations can be applied to all levels of government in Canada.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario strongly urges the Premier of the Government of Ontario to create a nonpartisan committee of high level politicians from all parties to review the 2019 Elect Her: A Roadmap Improving the Representation of Women in Canadian Politics Report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women to create a strategic plan that addresses the report’s recommendations and observations to promote more female representation in the Ontario Legislative Assembly;
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario strongly urges the Premier of the Government of Ontario to update this strategic plan annually and make the updated plan available to the public.
©BPW Ontario www.bpwontario.com