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Election 2008: Gender balance set to improve; still pretty bad

This Magazine Staff

This yet-to-be-called election that everyone’s atwitter about is a chance to correct the longstanding gender imbalance in the House of Commons.
As the Ottawa Citizen’s Glen McGregor writes today, the parties’ prospective candidate lineups include more women than ever before, something that will hopefully lead to a slightly more representative gender balance in the House of Commons, currently wallowing at around 20 percent. That’s a smaller proportion of women than can be found in the legislatures of Pakistan, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates, just for comparison. (The Citizen is going by numbers collected by, so they’re not definitive, and the parties haven’t finished nominating their candidates.)
While the numbers of female candidates look to be up, they’re still not very high, frankly. The NDP has a 40 percent female slate at this point, and the Liberals are following them with 38 percent. The Conservatives are bringing up the rear with less than 18 percent. Ouch. It’s long past time for all the parties to run a demographically representative slate of candidates. Breaking above one-third is a nice milestone, but judging by these numbers, there’s a long way to go.
(Thanks to Maisonneuve’s MediaScout for pointing out the Citizen article.)

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