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Are the parties fielding enough female candidates for the upcoming election?

September 18, 2007 | 12:10 PM

Candidate nominations closed on Sept. 18 for the Ontario election, with 597 hopefuls vying for the province's 107 seats on Oct. 10. About 25 per cent of those candidates are women.

The three main parties are fielding a total of 104 female candidates. The advocacy group Equal Voice found that the main parties have nominated 22 per cent more women this year than they did in 2003.

The NDP leads the pack for female candidates with 42, while the Liberals have 38 and the Conservatives 24.

Both the NDP's Howard Hampton and the Liberal's Dalton McGuinty say they are satisfied with the number of women running for their parties, while PC Leader John Tory says his party still has more work to do in this regard.

Watch Katrina Roman report on female candidates (Runs 2:31).

Do you think the parties are fielding enough female candidates? Are there barriers to women entering politics? If so, what are they and how can they be removed? Tell us your views.

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Comments: (11)

TorontoConservative (Toronto) wrote:

The gender balance in politics is an issue that distracts us from what really matters: higher quality politicians! Ontario needs better people in charge and if the majority of them are white, heterosexual males it is not a problem in any way.

Posted October 6, 2007 09:47 AM

D. Shields (Hamilton_Ont) wrote:

It's interesting that there are so many women involved in political activism, charity work to help those who have dropped through the system(s),& activism for various causes that often go against the current political grain. For some reason these same women do not run as candidates.

I think it's likely that women see the political system for what it is; Very Limiting in what it can do & involving a very long process to get things done on a Provincial or Federal level. I also think that women distrust the political process, & many of the people involved in it. We all know we have been lied to for decades on things like affordable day care, equal pay & opportunity.

Why invest time & effort in that same process?

Posted September 28, 2007 02:21 AM

anonymous (ottawa) wrote:

Speaking as a working woman, I feel very strongly that individuals should recieve a job based on merit, and not on their gender/race/religion. This is no different in politics. I want qualified people running this country. The ratio of women in the Legislature in irrelevant, and a politically correct argument which detracts from the important issues.

Posted September 25, 2007 12:51 PM

James B (Ottawa) wrote:

I think that the number of women candidates doesn't really reflect the real ability of women to participate in politics. Simply saying 25% candidates are women over simplifies the issue.

I'd like to know how many women are participating members of parties? How many seek nominations as candidates for each riding? How many women choose not to run for financial reasons? Family Reasons? Which parties are helping to deal with those issues?

I know a "Democratic Audit" by a number of universities ranked the NDP as the best party in terms of providing recruitment and support for women, and visible minorities to participate in politics. However, all NDP members recruited still have to be elected by their riding association.

Again I think the issue is over simplified by only counting the number of women candidates.

Posted September 25, 2007 12:40 PM

Mr. X (Ottawa) wrote:

Male or female, it doesn't matter...as long as their doing their job ethically and effectively. Once again..Politically Correctness shadowing the true points of this election:

Safety / Security
The Economy
Exorbitant Taxes

Shake your heads folks....a gender doesn't make a good politician and representative.

Posted September 25, 2007 09:30 AM

Wendy Klein (Ottawa) wrote:

I guess I would like to live in a country that values the voice of women enough to adjust the political process to allow 50% of our parliament to be women. If this means adjusting the funding formula to provide the women who are willing to put in the time the money to run then that's what I would like to happen. If that is not enough then perhaps we need a greater adjustment to the political process.

We are no longer like an ape colony where the leader of the pack picks bugs off the others to gain support, and being leader means being the physically strongest defender of the pack.

Our Parliament makes significant decisions that affect our lives and should be equally reflective of both sexes.

Posted September 22, 2007 01:58 AM

David (NiagaraFalls) wrote:

I heard a discussion on the radio between veteran women politicions ... their point was very clear. Getting into politics takes a lot of time away from family life. Fewer women than men are prepared to do this. I guess this raises a big debate about traditional family make-up etc., but the fact is that it's an individual's right to decide how their family functions, and whether or not they then have the time or energy to get into politics.

Right now the answer for most women is no.

You can't mandate inclusion. You most certainly should mandate that there are no barriers to women getting involved.

Posted September 21, 2007 02:26 PM

Wendy Klein (Ottawa) wrote:

"All registered candidates and parties receiving at least 15% of the popular vote are entitled to receive a campaign expense subsidy. The subsidy entitlement is calculated at 20% of the spending limit, or 20% of total actual campaign expenses, whichever is less.
These subsidies are to help defray the cost of the campaign. “ from Ontario elections website.

In order to equalize the number of women in provincial parlement I suggest these campaign subsidies to be linked to sexual representation of candidates.

Thus for candidate subsidies a pool of money will be calculated. 50% of the subsidy pool will be devided among the female candidates, 50% to the male candidates. Initially this will give the female candidates much more money, eventually as more females run it will be even. If the distribution seems too unbalanced some of the excess could be given to independents if they can demonstrate some support

For the party subsidy in order for a party to receive the full subsidy 46%-54% of its candidates would have to be female. Other wise it would be docked as a function of its shortfall. This would best be done gradually with the formula changing slightly from the first to the next election. If ever we should get to an unbalance the other way this would be applied similiarly. The docked money should go toward supporting independant female candidates.
candidates Party funding Party funding
first year subsequent years
45.1%-50% 100% 100%
40.1%-45% 90% 95%
45.6%-40% 80% 45%
30.1%-35% 70% 20%
25.6%-30% 60% 10%
20.1%-25% 50% 5%
15.1%-20% 40% 0%
10.1%-15% 30% 0%
0-10% 20% 0%

Please note these formulas were created without looking at or knowing how many females were running in the upcoming election.

Posted September 20, 2007 02:07 PM

Robert Blanchard (Calgary) wrote:

The reason there aren't more females in politics is because Canadian politics is extremely confrontational. Men are more confrontational then women.

The charter doesn't say all people are equal, it says we are equal in rights and dignity. We should accept the fact that men and women are inherently different. Equal people is for communists, equal opportunity is for Canada.

Posted September 20, 2007 06:08 AM

Jesse Snyder (Clifford) wrote:

I think we need to do more to get women into the legislature. When the legislature was dissolved, there were 26 women. Currently, women make up about 50% of society....clearly they are not being represented. I don't think enough is being done to get more women to run, or to win. Many parties have women running in ridings where they just won't win, because party loyalty is low. It's time to allow for Ontario to bring in MMP to open the way for more women to sit as MPPs. Call me an idealist, but I see that as a door opener to more women running and winning, instead of being appointed.

Posted September 20, 2007 12:00 AM

Jim (Toronto) wrote:

I don't think there's any real disparity between opportunities for men and women in politics right now. The real problem we stand to face is actually too many women. Now, before anyone jumps down my throat, think about equal opportunity employers, ones who are required to hire a certain portion of minorities.

If we begin to have elected officials who are appointed solely based on whether they're female, or we judge their merits based on this criteria, we stand to have ill-qualified leaders. As with everything else, and especially in politics, the positions should go to the most qualified, no matter their situation.

Posted September 18, 2007 04:18 PM

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