Reconsider gender parity, says lone female Nunavut MLA

The only woman elected in Nunavut's election Monday, Eva Aariak, said it may be time to revisit a proposal to ensure gender parity in the territory's legislature.

The only woman elected in Nunavut's election Monday, Eva Aariak, said it may be time to revisit a proposal to ensure gender parity in the territory's legislature.

The proposal for gender parity in the 19-seat assembly was considered before the territory's creation in 1999. It suggested one man and one woman each should be elected to represent a smaller number of constituencies, but the idea was rejected.

Given the "disappointing" election results, Aariak said it may be time to take that proposal back to the public again.

"Since the results came out that way, then perhaps that is something that people should revisit," she said, adding there should be a balance between men and women in the legislature.

The Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women Council was also disappointed that only one of the nine women who ran won a seat, compared to the two seats held by women in the past two assemblies, said the group's Trista Mercer.

The results mean Nunavut has the lowest percentage of female representation in North America, she said.

"We'd really like to bring that number up," Mercer said. "We'd like to have 50 per cent. We'd like to have equal, of course, and hopefully one day we will get there. We won't stop fighting until we get there."

Women face many challenges in Nunavut and bring a valuable voice to issues in the legislature, she said.

The first woman ever elected to the Nunavut legislature was Manitok Thompson in 1999. She represented Rankin Inlet South/Whale Cove. In a 2000 byelection in the riding of Quttiktuq she was joined by Rebekah Uqi Williams.

Leona Aglukkaq and Levinia Brown were the two women MLAs who sat in the Nunavut legislature from 2004 until 2008.