Women underrepresented in Saskatchewan politics, some parties offering gender parity

Click to play video: 'Provincial parties aim to erase gender disparity' Provincial parties aim to erase gender disparity
Provincial parties aim to erase gender disparity – Mar 14, 2016

REGINA – Saskatchewan’s party leaders may not agree on policy, but they do have at least one thing in common, they’re all men.

At a Monday morning political debate in Regina hosted by the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Regina (BPW Regina), the four candidates that spoke were all women.

“One of the first questions was asking them how important they felt it was that we had a gender balanced cabinet,” BPW Regina President Corinne Johnson said.

It comes on the 100th anniversary of white women winning the right to vote in Saskatchewan.

“The vote is one of the ways we can exercise power,” University of Regina Women’s Centre Director Jill Arnott said.

Aboriginal women didn’t receive that power until 1960.

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Now, there’s a push to reflect all women by focusing on gender parity in politics.

“I’m very pleased to add four women which actually puts us over 50 per cent of women candidates in the election which I think is fantastic,” Saskatchewan NDP leader Cam Broten announced.

So how do Saskatchewan’s political parties break down in terms of women in their ranks?

Currently, 52 per cent of the Green Party’s candidates are women. For the NDP it’s 51 per cent.

The Sask Party has 21 per cent and both the Liberals and the PC’s have 18 per cent.

“I think when we talk about running countries and running communities and making decisions that are going to affect everybody, we absolutely want equal representation,” Arnott added.

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Recruiting women has been a challenge for many parties, but there is a solution and it means breaking the cycle.

“In order for women to run, we need women to feel comfortable running and feel like they are going to feel well supported when they run and in order for that to happen we need to have women in those positions who can help change the culture so that it is more supportive,” Arnott explained.

As parties aim to get more women involved in politics, advocates say diversity of women is just as important to ensure everyone feel represented.

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