It’s crunch time. Nominations closed this past Monday, September 28th. Most candidates have been on the campaign trail for at least a month now (officially), many much longer. Others have just become candidates in the last couple of weeks. In this case, they’re quickly ramping up campaigns in places where their parties likely don’t have a big presence.
With a total of 1428 candidates for the major five parties, 473 are women. 33 percent. Here's the breakdown as of close of nominations.
45 Years to Go to Reach Gender Equality on the Ballot?
The upshot of these numbers is that 33 percent of candidates for the five major parties are women. This represents a modest increase from 2011. A small incremental rise.
And while we're always encouraged to see more women on the ballot, the thing is that - at the rate of progress we’ve seen the last two elections (a rise of 1.5 percent per election)- it would take another 11 federal elections to reach anything approximating gender balance on the ballot. 45 years.
Who's Driving the Progress?
Perhaps not surprisingly, under the watch of Campaign Director, Anne McGrath, the NDP have beaten their previous record in 2011 when they fielded nearly 40 percent women candidates. 43 percent is a federal record for Canada, hands down. It puts the NDP clearly out in front when it comes to women candidates.
Interestingly, in the last two weeks, the Green Party has also nominated a flurry of female candidates in Quebec. Yes, Quebec. This has catapulted their overall percentage from 32 percent to 39 percent. Unfortunately, with the GPC polling at less than 10 percent in Quebec, most of these ridings are not competitive, no matter how impressive the women running.
Liberal Party campaign director Katie Telford has also presided over notable improvement in the Liberal camp. They’re up nearly 3 points from 2011.
Only the Conservatives and the Bloc Quebec are down (somewhat) from their performance in 2011. While women comprised only 17 percent of the CPC's caucus in the last Parliament, 30 percent of their cabinet was women. We had hoped more would be compelled to come forward under the Conservative banner in this election. Unfortunately, it was not to be. The Bloc Quebecois is also down from its 2011 record, a disappointment given their history of fielding a larger percentage of women.
53 ridings with no women for any of the major 5 parties. There are just2 with no men.
97 ridings with no women running for major 3 parties. There are just 5 with no men.
72 ridings with 2 or more womenon the ballot
There are more ridings with no women running for the major parties than there are ridings with 2 or more women on the ballot
Why Do Women Run?
In an international study conducted by Grace Lore, UBC Political Scientist and EV's Researcher on the Numbers, she asked women serving as elected representatives in six different democratic countries in Europe and Canada about what issues motivated them to seek and serve in elected office. Here's a sampling of what they said.
Be Her. Support Her. Elect Her.
As a multi-partisan organization, Equal Voice doesn’t endorse candidates, however outstanding they may be. However, at this pivotal moment in the election, there are some key things you can do to ensure you are supporting the election of women.
Even if you don’t live in the riding, if you are motivated by any of the women who may be running in your region (or the country for that matter!), consider the following:
TAKE A SIGN: If you’re nearby, take a sign. The sign war is alive and well in ridings across the country. They matter. Signs boost campaign morale, they are a signal to friends and neighbours that you believe in that particular candidate AND they are a reminder to everyone that walks/drives by your house that an election is actually happening. Take one!
VOLUNTEER: Even if you’re not in the riding, giving even 2 to 3 hours of your time can be invaluable. Campaigns are run by a core group of dedicated volunteers who are often putting in extremely long hours. In less than three hours, you can do some door knocking, make some calls, fold some leaflets OR do a myriad of interesting things to keep a campaign running. Get out there!
DONATE: Canada has generous tax deductions for political contributions. The rules are here -- and they're clear. You can give up to $1,500 each year in total to the registered electoral district associations, nomination contestants and candidates of each registered party. You get a tax credit of 75% on anything you give up to $400.
SHARE THE LOVE: Share the news about women candidates that impress you! Breaking through the noise in this election is difficult. Take the time to tweet or Facebook about women you believe should get elected.
VOTE: Election Day is Monday, October 19th. But you can cast your vote in the advance polls! There will befour advance voting days over the Thanksgiving weekend. Cast your vote early. Only 60 percent of Canadians voted in the last election – and many thousands more women voted than men. Use your voice- and be sure to vote!