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What is the current state of women in politics?

“People ask me, ‘Are you proud of the fact that you were Canada’s first woman Prime Minister?’ I respond, ‘Yes, but I’d be prouder still to say I was Canada’s tenth woman prime minister.’”  Kim Campbell, Canada’s first and only female Prime Minister.

The under-representation of women in Canada creates a democratic deficit leaving over half of the population without an adequate voice in the political decision making process. According to the United Nations, a threshold of at least 30% of female legislators is required to ensure that public policy reflects the needs of women. (Wicks, Ann and Lang-Dion, Raylene. Electing More Women in Canada. Canadian Parliamentary Review, Spring 2007, p.37).

Some Statistics ...

Here is a snapshot of women's political representation in June 2014:

A record 88 women were elected in the 2015 federal election. The increase represents a modest gain in terms of representation, with women now accounting for 26% of the seats in the House. This places Canada 50th in a recent international ranking of women in parliaments.

Some of the countries outpacing Canada in terms of parliamentary gender equality include Rwanda, Bolivia, Cuba, Argentina, and Iraq.  Visit the site, Women of National Parliaments (2017) to see the number of women holding seats in lower and upper houses in each of 193 countries.

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