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Unpacking Gender's Role in Political Representation in Canada

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Unpacking Gender's Role in Political Representation in Canada

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22 CANADIAN PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW/SUMMER 2015
Feature
Brenda O’Neill is an associate professor in the University of
Calgary’s Department of Political Science. Versions of this paper
were delivered at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
Conference on July 17, 2013, in Edmonton, Alberta and as part
of the Bell Chair in Canadian Parliamentary Democracy Speaker
Series, on October 23, 2014, at Carleton University in Oawa,
Ontario.
Unpacking Gender’s Role
in Political Representation
in Canada
The story of women’s political representation in Canada has generally been told as one
of progress. While substantial progress has been made, particularly in recent years,
there have also been periods of stagnation. In this article, the author interrogates a
theory of demand and supply with respect to candidate recruitment strategies. She
writes that the undersupply of women candidates does not have to do with voter
preferences, but rather partisan selection processes, media-inuenced gender norms,
and the kinds of issues which dominate political discourse. She concludes that a
demand and supply model of political recruitment provides a useful framework for
understanding variation in women’s political underrepresentation in Canada.
Brenda O’Neill
In recent years much of the research into women’s
political representation has focussed on the
tremendous growth in the number of countries, now
standing at over one hundred, that have adopted
gender quotas as a means of increasing the number
of women in legislatures around the world.1 But in
the absence of such quotas, how well do women do
politically? To what extent, for instance, does women’s
political representation vary in Canada, where there
are no formal legislative requirements for ensuring
minimal numbers of women candidates on the ballot?
And what are the primary forces shaping when and
whether women are recruited into politics in Canada,
given the absence of any such formal requirements?
A starting point in any domestic examination of
women’s level of representation is to compare their
presence in the national legislature to others around
the world. On this measure, Canada’s current level in
the House of Commons, 25.1 percent, sits 55th amongst
the 189 countries included in the Inter-Parliamentary
Union’s classication, behind a diverse set of countries
that includes Rwanda and Senegal (two countries
with legislated gender quotas) and Sweden and New
Zealand (two without).2 But such a ranking tells us
lile about Canadian women’s political recruitment
over time. Conventional wisdom might suggest
that women’s levels of political representation have
been progressing at a regular pace. Figure 1 presents
the percentage of women elected to the House of
Commons since 1917. The overall trend is denitely
one of progress, with a particularly strong period
of growth between 1980 and 1997. But a closer look
also reveals periods of stagnation, the most recent
one between 1997 and 2006. So while there has been
progress at some political levels, that progress has
been neither consistent nor robust at all times.
A second point to underscore is that breakthroughs,
when they appear, can be surprisingly short-lived.
Parity in gender representation, for example, was
recently achieved at the level of provincial premier.
Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal leadership win in Ontario
in 2013 generated signicant aention as it brought
the number of women provincial premiers to a record
high of ve. The resignation or defeat of three women
premiers in quick succession shortly thereafter – Kathy
Dunderdale in Newfoundland and Labrador, Alison
Redford in Alberta and Pauline Marois in Quebec –
quickly silenced the celebrations.
That parity was achieved at the level of premier
underscores a third point regarding gender and political
CANADIAN PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW/SUMMER 2015 23
representation in Canada: like focussing on the tip of an
iceberg, celebrating victory at the top levels can easily
blind us to the bulk of the problem that lurks beneath
the water. As previously mentioned, women’s level
of representation in the House of Commons currently
sits at one in four. If we examine the percentage of
women siing as legislators at the provincial level (as
of October 2014), we nd that nowhere do they make
up more than 40 per cent of siing legislators (see
Figure 2). Indeed, in only two provinces is the share
over 30 per cent (British Columbia and Ontario), but
more importantly perhaps, in three provinces it sits at
below 20 per cent (Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and
Newfoundland and Labrador). In the remaining ve
provinces, the percentage of women legislators varies
between 20 and 30 percent. Even a quick examination
such as this suggests that some provinces have
succeeded in ways that others have not.
A snapshot at one point in time provides only a
limited understanding of women’s level of political
representation in the provinces given that fortunes can
quickly change from one election to the next. Recent
research on the subject reveals that in some provinces
the trend has been one of a slow and steady progress
(British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and
Ontario), in others it is a peak followed by a decline
(Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island,
New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Alberta), and in
still others it has plateaued (Quebec).3
The fact that there is such variation in women’s
representation over time, between levels and across
the provinces, suggests that assuming women’s
political representation will naturally progress is
inappropriate. What then might explain why progress
cannot be taken for granted?
One explanation that has been largely discredited is
that women’s levels of representation are due to voter
preference; that is, that women are more or less likely
to win oce than men because voters may or may not
Figure 1: Percentage of Women MPs in the House of Commons, 1917 to 2011
Source: Lisa Young, “Slow to Change,” p. 256.
24 CANADIAN PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW/SUMMER 2015
show a preference for male candidates. Studies have
found that voters are as likely to support male as female
candidates.4 If there is an undersupply of women in
Canadian legislatures, it is not due to any particular
preference on the part of voters. Explanations need to
be found elsewhere.
One particularly helpful framework for
understanding decisions regarding the recruitment
and supply of political candidates is the demand
and supply framework outlined by Pippa Norris and
Joni Lovenduski.5 The framework depicts political
recruitment outcomes as the interaction between two
separate decisions: the rst, the demand for political
candidates by political parties, and the second, the
supply of political candidates that is the result of
individual decisions to stand for election. As the
gatekeepers of the electoral process, parties play
a particularly important role in determining who
ultimately runs for oce, serves as party leaders,
and indirectly, sits in cabinet. Equally important,
however, is the supply of individuals willing and
able to step forward to stand for oce. Evidence
worldwide makes clear that the process of candidate
selection is such that certain groups of people are more
likely to be selected as candidates, and potentially as
legislators, than others, namely the well-educated,
auent, middle-aged and male. The process, then, is
not neutral but rather reects dierences within these
groups in their willingness to run, and in the decisions
made by gatekeepers regarding their t as the “best”
candidates. Decisions made in one process also aect
those made in the other: if aspirants to a political
position perceive that the party is unlikely or unwilling
to select them as a candidate, then they will be less
likely to put themselves forward for the position.6
Understanding variation in women’s representation
in Canada can come from examining how those who
select candidates, and how those who are willing to
put themselves forward as candidates, varies.
Figure 2: Women’s Political Representation in Provincial Legislatures,
October 2014
Source: Equal Voice, Fundamental Facts: Elected Women in Canada By The Numbers, June 2014, www.equalvoice.ca, with updates by author,
B. O’Neill.
CANADIAN PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW/SUMMER 2015 25
Within the context of women’s political
representation, the key questions to ask are what
specic factors encourage, or discourage, parties from
seeking out women to run as candidates in elections
(demand)? And, what encourages, or discourages,
women from puing themselves forward as candidates
in elections (supply)?
The Demand Side: The Candidates That Parties
Select
The demand side of the political recruitment
framework suggests that political parties are more
likely to select candidates associated with a reduced
electoral risk. The assessment of risk, that is the
determination as to how likely the candidate is to win
the seat, is largely one of perception given that electoral
outcomes are rarely foregone conclusions. Assessing
that risk provides plenty of room for assumptions
to directly and indirectly shape women’s chances of
being selected as candidates. Who is considered a
“suitable” candidate? What type of candidate “best”
represents the party? Is the riding “winnable”? What
are the voters looking for in their representative?
Who, in short, is the “best” candidate?
One factor inuencing parties’ strategic calculations
is the electoral system, as it provides specic
incentives regarding the recruitment of candidates.
Each party’s electoral chances in a riding are vested
in a single candidate. The winner-take-all nature of
the contest means that political parties are less willing
to take a chance on an unknown quantity than they
might be otherwise, especially in ridings where the
party is perceived to have a very good chance of
winning the seat. Each party’s perception regarding
the “winnable candidate” is not likely to be gender
blind;7 existing networks and past experiences will
likely guide choices towards candidates who meet
the perception of who is likely to be able to win.
Canadian politics continues to operate in a highly
masculinized environment which privileges power
and competition. For women to conform to these
norms they must challenge prevailing conceptions
about how women should act, that is as individuals
who are compassionate, willing to compromise, and
people-oriented.8 Male stereotypes, on the other hand,
include being assertive, active, and self-condent,
which directly correspond with perceptions of the key
criteria of merit and suitability for the political arena.
Male candidates are more likely to t the perceived
criteria simply by conforming to the norms associated
with their gender.
Although merit is often identied as the basis for
candidate selection, the particular criteria associated
with the concept are often dicult to pin down and
as such there is plenty of opportunity for post hoc
rationalization of choices. Norris and Lovenduski
argue that candidate assessments often rely on group-
based judgments about the candidate’s characteristics
(for example, sex or ethnicity) or about the voters’
willingness to support the candidate at the ballot box.9
Research by Cheng and Tavits conrms this important
role played by party gatekeepers in the selection of
candidates.10 Examining the 2004 and 2006 Canadian
elections, they nd evidence that women are more
likely to be nominated when the local constituency
party president is a woman. Importantly, the eect
need not be a direct one. According to Cheng and Tavits,
“Even if party leaders are not directly responsible for
their party’s nomination process, the leadership can
informally encourage preferred candidates to contest
nominations or, even less directly, send signals about
who would be welcome and would t in with the
existing local party elite.”11 In short, people are more
likely to support and recruit candidates who are like
themselves.12
Related to the perception of winnability is the greater
likelihood of selecting candidates perceived to be more
meritorious in competitive ridings, given the increased
probability of electoral success. The ipside is that less
competitive ridings are likely to adopt lower standards
regarding merit given the decreased desirability of
the nomination. The concept of sacricial lambs
women nominated to run in ridings where the party
is not competitive – has been touted as a potential
explanation for the limited number of women
found within Canadian legislatures. Until recently,
however, lile empirical support for the practice
could be uncovered.13 As shown by Thomas and
Bodet, however, employing a more dynamic empirical
measure of district competitiveness than in the past
uncovers evidence of the sacricial lamb hypothesis at
the federal level in Canada; except for the Bloc, parties
are more likely to nominate men than women to run in
districts that they believe can be won.14 If women were
placed in competitive ridings in numbers equal to men,
women’s political representation would necessarily
improve.
The propensity to select women when electoral
strength is weak rests, necessarily, on predictions of the
party’s likelihood of winning the next election. Parties
are not, however, always able to accurately predict their
chances. When predictions are o, what can happen is
a landslide, an unexpected electoral sweep for a party
26 CANADIAN PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW/SUMMER 2015
that can result in a signicant increase in women’s
political representation.15 Canadian examples include
the Liberal sweep in New Brunswick in 1987, where
women’s share in the legislature rose from 7 to 12 per
cent.16 Another is the NDP win in 1990 in Ontario,
where the percentage of women legislators rose 7
percentage points in a single election to 22 per cent, a
record that stood until 2007.17
The conclusion that party eorts are instrumental
for the political representation of women cannot
be over-emphasized. While the rst-past-the-post
electoral system creates incentives and disincentives,
it does not vary across the provinces, and so its ability
to help explain variation across the provinces is
limited. But the electoral system does increase electoral
volatility, and so small shifts in electoral fortune can
lead to large shifts in women’s representation, both
up and down, if the parties in the system have very
dierent records of nominating women as candidates.
Electoral volatility also decreases the ability to
determine electoral chances, which raises the stakes,
and potentially decreases women’s chances of being
nominated if they are seen as more risky choices.
Another factor that needs to be underscored is that
party systems vary across the provinces and between
the federal and provincial levels. Since parties vary in
the degree to which they see a perceived need for the
adoption of concrete mechanisms for improving the lot
of underrepresented groups such as women, variation
in party systems can help to explain variation in levels
of women’s representation. Parties on the right of the
ideological spectrum have refused to make special
allowances for women to increase their numbers
within party caucuses.18 In the 2012 Alberta election,
for example, fewer than one in ve candidates (13 per
cent) for the Wildrose Party were women; in the 2014
Ontario election, the corresponding percentage for the
PC party was one in four (25 per cent). In contrast, the
NDP has adopted multiple mechanisms specically
designed to increase women’s numbers within its
ranks.19 In the 2012 Alberta election, almost half (47
per cent) of the NDP’s candidates were women; in the
2009 BC election, this gure was 48 per cent. So while
parties can act as gatekeepers to women’s political
representation, they can also serve as mechanisms for
potentially improving the gender balance.
These mechanisms can be explicitly identied
as a core element of the party’s platform, or can be
less structured, in the form of a “gender” champion
who strongly promotes women’s nominations,
such as BC NDP leader Mike Harcourt in the early
1990s, and Manitoba NDP leader Howard Pawley
in the early 1980s. More recently, Danny Williams is
said to have largely decided that Kathy Dunderdale
would be his successor as leader in the PC party in
Newfoundland and Labrador.20 These champions can
make a signicant dierence by simply signalling the
importance of the issue to the party. Their impact can
be far more direct by explicitly choosing to parachute
women candidates into ridings, for example. These
tactics, however, are often strongly criticized; they
bu up against a political norm that sees the local
party organization as independent and political
parties as private organizations.21 The departure of a
champion can also have an immediate and negative
eect on women’s political fortunes if the issue was
never strongly championed by anyone else in the
party.
Nominating women as candidates is only the rst
step to improving their political representation; the
next is geing them elected. And this depends to
a large extent on the relative electoral strength of
the various parties in the system. The greater the
electoral strength of parties on the left, the beer the
level of women’s political representation given their
increased tendency to nominate women as candidates.
Provinces with electorally strong parties on the left of
the political spectrum will often reveal greater gender
equity in representation; British Columbia, Quebec
and Manitoba, for example, have enjoyed particularly
strong showings amongst parties on the left and rank
among the top of the provinces for the percentage of
women found in their legislatures. Tendencies are
rarely certainties, however, and Saskatchewan does
less well on this score in spite of the strength of the
NDP in that province.
The strength of parties on the left of the spectrum
can also maer more indirectly for levels of women’s
representation through the “contagion eect.”22
The contagion eect argues that one party’s eorts
to increase women’s representation can spur other
parties in the system to do the same through a desire
to remain competitive.23 More recent work on this
eect in Scotland suggests that the conditions of
the host (party) may be more important than the
presence of the virus for explaining women’s political
representation.24
The Supply Side: Why Women Choose to Run
Understanding why the level of women’s
representation might vary across the country requires
not only an understanding of parties and party
CANADIAN PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW/SUMMER 2015 27
systems but also an understanding of what factors
explain why some women choose to run for oce
and others not. In outlining the demand and supply
framework, Norris and Lovenduski argue that
one factor helping to explain the supply of women
candidates is gender norms – the set of expectations
regarding appropriate female and male public and
private roles. Although gender norms are shifting,
their inuence continues to shape many aspects of
women’s and men’s lives. Gender norms establish
gender appropriate behaviours and aitudes, which
indirectly shape everything from the education and
occupations women and men choose, to the levels
of political interest and knowledge that they exhibit.
Along these same lines, gender expectations create
beliefs that can directly discourage women from
seeing themselves as feasible candidates; although
perhaps less explicitly than in the past, a political
candidate who is the mother of small children is
still likely to raise more eyebrows among the public
and some party members, than one who is the father
of small children. Many women have internalized
these expectations and norms, and as such, they are
brought to bear on their willingness to stand for
oce. In equal measure, the strength of these gender
norms among the political party elite can only add to
women’s diculty in breaking down these barriers.
The pipeline theory of political representation posits
that once women take on the same occupations, have
similar levels of education, and earn similar incomes
to men, their numbers as legislators would naturally
increase. But while we have had dramatic changes in
each of these areas in recent years, we have not seen
much evidence that the pipeline theory holds much
water – or, as Malinda Smith noted, “that’s a fairly leaky
pipe. How then are we to understand why women
continue to be less willing to put themselves forward
as candidates in spite of gains in these areas?
One theory for understanding political participation
decisions suggests that people will participate when
they can, when they want to, and when they are
asked.25 The theory suggests that women are less likely
than men to run for oce because they are less able;
that is, because they do not possess the necessary
resources. This argument gains traction when we
recognize that women continue to earn roughly 80
cents for every dollar earned by men26 and that despite
their increasing numbers at colleges and universities,
their training is less often in those occupations from
which most politicians are drawn: business and law.
The laer also means that they are less likely to nd
themselves in occupational networks most associated
with politics. While we know that women candidates
are as equally capable of raising campaign money as
men,27 there is still debate about whether their weaker
nancial position relative to men keeps them from
puing themselves forward in the rst place and about
how this lower participation rate shapes perceptions of
party elites of their nancial capacity and winnability.
Women’s relative absence as political aspirants may
also come down to a maer of time, another resource
which has been investigated. Findings, however, have
failed to uncover much evidence that time constraints
account for gender dierences in terms of willingness
to run. Investigations of leisure time availability show
lile dierence between women and men; women’s
leisure time is more likely to be consumed by child
care and unpaid work in the home than men’s, but
men’s leisure time is more likely to be reduced by
additional time spent at work outside the home.
More time at work does, however, provide increased
opportunities for political networking, which might
indirectly account for any apparent gender dierences
in political recruitment.
A second important explanation behind
participatory decisions is associated with possessing a
desire that can spur action. Women’s decreased levels
of political interest, political ecacy, and political
...Gender expectations create
beliefs that can directly
discourage women from seeing
themselves as feasible candidates;
although perhaps less explicitly
than in the past, a political
candidate who is the mother of
small children is still likely to
raise more eyebrows among the
public and some party members,
than one who is the father of
small children.
28 CANADIAN PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW/SUMMER 2015
knowledge, even when controlling for education and
occupational dierences, are important explanations
for their decreased willingness to run.28 Women are
simply less likely to want to enter politics than men
given their decreased engagement with politics.
The adversarial nature of partisan politics can also
put some women o politics altogether; the polarized
and adversarial nature of British Columbia politics was
identied by some women in interviews as a reason for
staying out of politics.29 Other research has identied
that the harsh treatment of women politicians – Sharon
Carstairs in Manitoba, as one example – is linked to
women’s unwillingness to run.30
The third explanation links participation decisions
to the availability of opportunities. Jennifer Lawless
and Richard Fox note that women are more likely
than men to run for political oce if they are directly
asked to do so. The underlying explanation for
this phenomenon is that women have less political
ambition than men; they give less weight to their
qualications and skills, and they put o running until
their qualications actually surpass those of men. As
such, political parties that establish mechanisms for
explicitly identifying potential women candidates will
succeed by increasing the number of women within
the networks from which gatekeepers look to recruit
potential candidates and by increasing the likelihood
that women will be approached to run.31
An additional explanation for women’s political
underrepresentation is likely linked to political
parties’ varying appeal to women across the political
spectrum. Research on the gender gap in aitudes
and in voting tells us that women, in the aggregate,
are more likely to support positions and parties that
fall on the left of the ideological spectrum and to vote
for parties on the left.32 Women are also more likely
to be chosen to lead parties on the left than men.33 As
such, party systems with a stronger partisan presence
on the left of the spectrum are likely to see a greater
supply of women political aspirants than others.
Finally, an important point to recognize is that
not all women are equally marginalized: Across the
country, Aboriginal, immigrant and ethnic minority
women face signicantly greater barriers that lead to
weakened capacity and desire to engage politically.
These barriers are as high, if not higher than, those
faced by men from these groups, and as such, might
help explain these women’s relative absence from the
political arena.34
Conclusion
The demand and supply model of political
recruitment provides a useful framework for
understanding variation in women’s political
underrepresentation in Canada. How parties select
candidates and why some individuals decide to
run for oce are central pieces of information to
understanding who eventually occupies seats in the
legislature. Is there any sense of which maers more for
women’s underrepresentation? While earlier studies
pointed to the importance of women’s unwillingness
to run as a key factor, more recent work by Ashe and
Stewart on legislative recruitment in British Columbia
suggests that demand constraints are more important
for understanding outcomes.35 And, as Mona Lena
Krook notes, it is not necessarily an optimum outcome
that is achieved at the intersection of the demand and
supply curves; the gendered nature of both processes
means that the outcome is likely less desirable than it
might be otherwise.
The demand and supply model necessarily
restricts our focus in the search for explanations.
Four additional characteristics can be identied for
their role in shaping women’s political representation
across the country. First, the economic and cultural
context can directly inuence the number of women
who step forward and are selected as candidates.
A second characteristic of some importance is the
relative strength of women’s groups in supporting
women who choose to run and in puing pressure on
parties and governments to address gender inequality.
A third and related factor is the disappearance of
gender and women’s issues from the political agenda.
This phenomenon has been described as one of gender
silence.36 The last piece of the puzzle is the media.
Research makes clear that the media treat women
and men dierently as candidates and this dierence
likely inuences both how women are perceived by
the party elite and how willing women are to run for
oce.37 These dierences are diminishing over time
but have not yet disappeared.
The last word may well be given to a scholar of
Canadian politics, Lisa Young. She notes that “political
parties, as the primary agents of recruitment and as
the gatekeepers of the political process, must change
their recruitment and nomination practices if there
is to be substantial change in the number of women
in the House of Commons.”38 Wrien in 1991, the
conclusion still stands almost 25 years later.
CANADIAN PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW/SUMMER 2015 29
Endnotes
1 As an example, see Mona Lena Krook, Quotas for
Women in Politics: Gender and Candidate Selection Reform
Worldwide, Oxford University Press: New York: Oxford
University Press 2009.
2 See Inter-Parliamentary Union, Women in National
Parliaments, October 1, 2014, at <www.ipu.org/wmn-e/
classif.htm>.
3 Linda Trimble, Manon Tremblay and Jane Arsco,
“Conclusion: A Few More Women” in Linda Trimble,
Jane Arsco and Manon Tremblay (eds.), Stalled: The
Representation of Women in Canadian Governments,
University of British Columbia Press: Vancouver, 2013.
4 See Jerome Black and Lynda Erickson, “Women
Candidates And Voter Bias: Do Women Politicians
Need To Be Beer?” Electoral Studies 22(1), 2003, pp.
81-100 and Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant, “Who Votes For
Women Candidates and Why? Evidence From Recent
Elections” in Cameron Anderson and Laura Stephenson
(eds.), Voting Behaviour in Canada, University of British
Columbia Press: Vancouver, 2010.
5 Pippa Norris and Joni Lovenduski, Political Recruitment:
Gender, Race, and Class in the British Parliament,
Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1995.
6 Mona Lena Krook, “Why Are Fewer Women Than
Men Elected? Gender and the Dynamics of Candidate
Selection”, Political Studies Review 8(2), 2010, pp. 155-68.
7 Manon Tremblay, “Hiing a Glass Ceiling? Women
in Quebec Politics” in Trimble, Arsco and Tremblay
(eds.), Stalled: The Representation of Women in Canadian
Governments, p. 209.
8 Jennifer Lawless and Richard Fox, It Takes a Candidate:
Why Women Don’t Run for Oce, Cambridge University
Press: New York, 2005.
9 Norris and Lovenduski, 1995.
10 Christine Cheng and and Margit Tavits, “Informal
Inuences in Selecting Female Political Candidates”,
Political Research Quarterly 64(2), 2011, pp. 460-71.
11 Cheng and Tavits, p. 467.
12 See Sheri Kunovich and Pamela Paxton, “Pathways
to Power: The Role of Political Parties in Women’s
National Political Representation”, American Journal
of Sociology 111(2), 2005, pp. 505-52 and David Niven,
“Party Elites and Women Candidates: The Shape of
Bias”, Women and Politics 19(2), 1998, pp. 57-80.
13 See Donley Studlar and Richard Matland, “The Growth
of Women’s Representation in the Canadian House of
Commons and the Election of 1984: A Reappraisal”,
Canadian Journal of Political Science 27(1), 1994, pp. 53-
79 and Lisa Young, “Women’s Representation in the
Canadian House of Commons” in Marion Sawyer,
Manon Tremblay and Linda Trimble (eds.), Representing
Women in Parliament: A Comparative Study, Routledge:
New York, 2006.
14 Melanee Thomas and Marc André Bodet,
“Sacricial Lambs, Women Candidates, and District
Competitiveness in Canada”, Electoral Studies 32(1),
2013, pp. 153-166.
15 Graham Murray, “Women MPPs at Queen’s Park,
1981 through 2010 (4).” Working paper provided by
G.P. Murray Research Limited, Toronto, 2010 as cited
in Tracey Raney, “Breaking the Hold Paern? Women
in Ontario Politics” in Trimble, Arsco and Tremblay
(eds.), Stalled: The Representation of Women in Canadian
Governments.
16 Joanna Everi, “A Province at the Back of the Pack:
Women in New Brunswick Politics” in Trimble, Arsco
and Tremblay (eds.), Stalled: The Representation of Women
in Canadian Governments.
17 Raney, p. 167.
18 Lisa Young, Feminists and Party Politics, University of
British Columbia Press: Vancouver, 2000.
19 William Cross, Political Parties, University of British
Columbia Press: Vancouver, 2004.
20 Amanda Biner and Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant. A
Laggard No More? Women in Newfoundland and
Labrador Politics” in Trimble, Arsco and Tremblay
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... Based on our aggregate-level data, it appears that women and racialized candidate success varies considerably at the school board level, with implications for our understanding of patterns of political success and representation. As has been consistently articulated in the literature (Bashevkin, 1985;O'Neill, 2015), women candidates appear to do progressively worse electorally as we move up the hierarchy of elected offices. Based on our data (which we discuss in detail below), this trend is exacerbated by the inclusion of school board data. ...
... While political parties are becoming more proactive in recruiting racial minorities, particularly in diverse ridings, Tolley (2019) highlights that local party dynamics matter for this outcome: racialized candidates are much less likely to be nominated in ridings where the local riding association director is white. Meanwhile, political parties remain consistently less likely to encourage women to run relative to men (Lawless and Fox, 2005;O'Neill, 2015;Cheng and Tavits, 2011). Second, school board politics are remarkably uncompetitive, with high acclamation rates. ...
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