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Edmonton group monitoring number of women and men running for Alberta’s next election

Edmonton group leads movement for more women to run for office
Albertans will cast ballots in two elections in the next year. Heading into both campaigns, a local group is hoping to encourage more women to put their names on the ballot. Jennifer Crosby sits down with Lana Cuthbertson with Parity YEG to talk more about the movement.

An Edmonton group has created an online tool to monitor how many women want a seat in the Alberta Legislature in 2019.

Parity YEG is calling it a live dashboard: it shows the number of women and men seeking riding nominations by party, and breaks down who won those nominations.

“We live in a democracy. And having diversity in representation in our politics is a really important part of making sure that democracy remains healthy,” Parity YEG’s Lana Cutherbertson said.

Parity YEG and political blogger Dave Cournoyer created the tool. The figures are displayed by party and will be updated throughout the campaign.

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An Edmonton group has created a tool to help voters monitor the number of women running in the 2019 Alberta election. 

READ MORE: COMMENTARY: Tearing down the barriers for women entering politics

Canada sits 60th of 193 countries in the world for the number of women elected, barely cracking the top 30 per cent behind Kazakstan, Afghanistan and South Sudan.

In Alberta’s 2015 election, a record number of women were elected, accounting for 32 per cent of the seats. This month’s election in Quebec saw a record number of women elected to that province’s National Assembly, 52 of 125.

READ MORE: Gender equality in Canada: Where do we stand today?

In driving toward Alberta’s 2019 contest, Parity YEG will be pushing for further equality.

“Women need to be asked to run for office.”

“One of the main things people can do is think about women in their lives who are community leaders, who are business leaders, who have a passion about their community and ask them to run for office.  And they need to be asked at least three times or more,” Cuthbertson said.

Cutherbertson says the three parties with the most candidates nominated so far (the UCP, the NDP and the Alberta Party) are recognizing that women may face different barriers when getting involved in politics, and are actively recruiting female candidates.

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“Those barriers often involve a heavier load at home, but now in some cases women are the breadwinners for their family and so that might prevent that from running as well.”

As part of its efforts, Parity YEG will also hold educational events like campaign school ahead of Alberta’s spring election.