N.W.T. Premier Bob McLeod is standing by his idea for an annual women's mock parliament, despite criticism from some in the territory who say the idea is patronizing.

Critics of the idea, including Arlene Hache and Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox, say putting women together to "play politics" only pushes them further away from real political conversation.

Bob McLeod

N.W.T. Premier Bob McLeod is standing by his idea for an annual women's mock parliament despite criticism from some in the territory who say the idea is patronizing. (CBC)

But McLeod says a women's mock parliament would help draw attention to the barriers and attitudes that prevent women from running for office.

"Not only will it enrich the overall experience, but I think we could learn a lot from the debates and discussion," he said. "It would provide a resource for women who are seriously interested in running for politics at any level."

Tina Gargan, president of the NWT Status of Women's Council, agrees. She says it could encourage women to take the  necessary step if they're interested in pursuing politics.

"Change is fearful. It's a fearful thing," she said. "So I think it will help confirm the decision, and it would definitely be a good experience at that level."

Only two of the 19 MLAs in the Northwest Territories legislative assembly are women.