More than half of people in Canada don’t believe women need to be better represented in politics, a new survey suggests.
To mark International Women’s Day on Wednesday, the group Equal Voice released a poll that says 58 per cent of respondents think there is already the right number of or “too many” women in municipal, provincial and federal politics.
Canadians believe on average that women occupy about one third of the seats in the House of Commons, according to the survey. In fact, women make up about 28 per cent of the seats.
“Clearly, there’s still work to do educating Canadians on the issue of underrepresentation of women in Parliament, as well as other levels of government,” said Nancy Peckford, executive director of Equal Voice.
Provincially, three of Canada’s 13 premiers are female. At the local level, women make up about a quarter of municipal councillors and 18 per cent of mayors, according to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
The survey found most Canadians believe that it will take “18 years or longer” to reach gender parity in Ottawa, while another 25 per cent think it will never happen.
“The biggest obstacle women identify to running for elected office is that parties don’t recruit enough women for winnable ridings,” said Peckford. “Political parties, this is your call to action.”
Less than half of respondents said they were likely to recommend a woman they know well to run for public office, while 22 per cent would “definitely not recommend” a career in elected politics for women.
To get female youth interested and involved in politics, Equal Voice chose 338 young women – one for each federal riding in Canada – to be a part of a new campaign called Daughters of the Vote.
Forty-two of them will represent B.C. in Parliament on Wednesday, sitting in their MP’s chair in the House. They will also meet with their Member of Parliament and attend question period.
“Through their passion, vision and actions,” Peckford said, “these inspiring young women will contribute to their communities, their province, our nation and the world in creative and impactful ways.”