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Quebec elects record number of women — but will there be a gender-balanced cabinet?

The CAQ leader has promised a gender-balanced cabinet.
The CAQ leader has promised a gender-balanced cabinet. Graham Hughes / The Canadian Press

The Quebec election is not only historic because of the Coalition Avenir Québec’s majority win — the first time the party has risen to power since its creation in 2011 — but because it also marks a record number of women elected to the National Assembly.

Of the province’s 125 ridings, a total of 52 are now held by women.

READ MORE: Quebec reaches highest percentage of female candidates in history

The historic boost brings women in office to more than 40 per cent — which means the province has for the first time reached the parity zone when it comes to gender representation.

The news was heralded by several women’s groups across Quebec, including the Conseil du statut de la femme.

“The achievement of parity in politics is a principle at the heart of equality between women and men, a principle which has always been defended by the council,” council president Louise Cordeau said in a statement.

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WATCH: Legault addresses Quebec’s English-speakers

Quebec Election: Legault tells Anglophones ‘my government will be your government’
Quebec Election: Legault tells Anglophones ‘my government will be your government’

Promises for a gender-balanced cabinet

While the Groupe Femmes, Politique et Démocratie (GFPD) also praised the move, the organization said it is a step forward in ensuring female-male equality — but that more needs to be done.

Premier-designate François Legault should maintain gender parity in Quebec politics for future generations by passing a law, the group said.

READ MORE: Historic number of women candidates in Quebec might not mean more women MNAs

Both the Parti Québécois and Québec Solidaire had promised to do that if elected.

The GFPD is also calling on Legault to follow through on his promise on the campaign trail to form a gender-balanced cabinet.

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“I’ve already said that if I’m chosen on Oct. 1, we’ll have a cabinet where half of the members will be women,” Legault said in August.

More women jumping into politics

In this year’s provincial election, more women ran for the four main political parties than ever before — 47 per cent of the candidates were women.

Québec Solidaire had the most female candidates with 66, while the Coalition Avenir Québec led the three major parties with 65 women compared to 60 men.

READ MORE: CAQ boasts highest percentage of women in Quebec election campaign

with files from Global’s Annabelle Olivier, Raquel Fletcher and The Canadian Press