PEI·PEI Votes

P.E.I. election brings slight jump for women in the legislature

P.E.I. woman will see a small jump in representation in the P.E.I. Legislature. Six of the 26 elected MLAs in the Island's 2019 election were women, an increase of one female MLA, with women representing 23 per cent of the House. 

Only 1 of the 12 elected PCs is a woman

'This is the most significant representation of women in an official opposition in Canada,' says Dawn Wilson with the P.E.I. Coalition for Women in Government. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC )

P.E.I. woman will see a small jump in representation in the P.E.I. Legislature.

Six of the 26 elected MLAs in the Island's 2019 election were women, an increase of one female MLA, with women representing 23 per cent of the House. 

The P.E.I. Coalition for Women in Government says they are happy to see more women represented in Island politics, even if the jump is modest when compared to 2015.

The increase to 23 per cent representation fails to set a new high bar for gender balance, Dawn Wilson, executive director said in a news release.

We're going to do everything we can to do the best we can in that regard. But it is certainly a bit of a disappointment that we only have one. We lost four good ones in our side.— Dennis King, premier-designate

"Women made up 33.3 per cent of candidates and 23 per cent of elected members of the legislative assembly. Final numbers will not be available until after the District 9 byelection."

District 9 is yet to be decided due to the death of Green Candidate Josh Underhay and his young son Oliver on April 19. 

An election will be held in District 9 at a later date to determine who represents the area. 

If the two women candidates in District 9 decide to run again, a win by a woman candidate would bring the total percentage of women elected to 26 per cent, still short of a historic high and barely over a quarter of all MLAs, said Wilson.

Candidates don't translate to seats

Despite women making up 26 per cent of the PC candidates, only one of the 12 elected PCs is a woman. 

Premier-designate Dennis King said it is tough to see some of the women who represented the PC Party lose their races.

"That is a reality that we have to work with. We have been committed to having gender equity at the senior management level," King said. 

A legislature with no majority provides an opportunity to demonstrate co-operation among parties.— Emma Drake, P.E.I. Coalition for Women in Government

"We're going to do everything we can to do the best we can in that regard. But it is certainly a bit of a disappointment that we only have one. We lost four good ones in our side."

Despite a Liberal Party high of almost one third of candidates being women, none will be sitting in any of the six seats the party won.

Women now have five of the eight Green Party seats, said Wilson.

"This is the most significant representation of women in an official opposition in Canada."

Minority government good for women

Emma Drake, interim chair of the coalition, said the story of P.E.I. election is similar to that of Alberta.

"We need more women running, especially in traditional parties," Drake said in the release.

"But it's not enough to just have more women on the ballot. We need women running in districts where the party they run for is competitive and strong."

Wilson believes a projected minority government is a good thing for women, she said.

"Women consistently report that they want more collaboration in government and less competition. A legislature with no majority provides an opportunity to demonstrate co-operation among parties."

More P.E.I. news

With files from Island Morning

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