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Politics

Canada set a new record for most elected female MPs, but advocates expected more

Liberal MP for Vancouver Centre, Hedy Fry. .
Liberal MP for Vancouver Centre, Hedy Fry. . John Lehmann/Globe and Mail

Monday’s federal election saw a new record – the most female Members of Parliament elected to the House of Commons.

Global News counted a total of 98 women MPs that were elected across all parties, an increase of 10 from the 2015 election and seven from the 91 female-held seats at the time parliament dissolved.

Elected women also saw a general increase of representation in their respective parties.

READ MORE: Liberals achieve gender parity in new appointments, but minorities left out: docs

Conservatives saw their elected female candidates attain 18 per cent of their total 122 seats.

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The NDP and Bloc both tied for having the highest percentage of women elected federally at 37.5 per cent, with 24 and 32 seats respectively.

The Greens had attained three seats in total, two of which were held by women. The only independent candidate who won in their riding was female as well.

ParityBOT uses AI to combat abusive tweets to female election candidates
ParityBOT uses AI to combat abusive tweets to female election candidates

Despite the advancement however, some equality advocates are saying that we still have a long way to go.

Equal Voice spokesperson Nasha Brownridge told Global News that even though progress was made, the results were far from what they were expecting.

READ MORE: How much did feminist Trudeau move the needle on gender equality?

“So what we’re seeing right now is a 10 total women increase but we’re only seeing about a three per cent increase from the 2015 election,” said Brownridge.

“Of course, we’re glad to see the number did in fact increase because we know that progress isn’t linear, but we’d hoped to see more. We were actually calling on a minimum of 30 per cent which would of been a 102 women, so we were just shy of that.”

The topic of gender equality in both parliament and across Canada was spoken about widely after the 2015 election — when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau touted his gender-equal cabinet as well as declared himself a feminist. That election too saw a record 537 women place their names on a ballot to run — a number that was then consequently beaten by this year’s 645.

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Canada’s longest serving female MP, Liberal Hedy Fry said that the problem isn’t the willingness women have to run for federal government, but rather the practical obstructions that come with working as a Member of Parliament — particularly the vast distances they would have to travel in order to get to Parliament in Ottawa, and how that can be especially tough if she has kids.

READ MORE: Liberals say they’ll retroactively fix gendered pay inequity in cabinet

“I think the problem about federally is the distances, so a lot of women have to trouble to get back and forth from Ottawa to get to be in the House of Commons and then to get back home to represent their constituents, but they’re away for a long time from their families,” said Fry.

“There’s still is a bit of a problem for women who have small children too, so I think it’s something we need to talk about, how we can get around that. I think more women might run for instance if they can stay in their constituency longer.”