“Canada needs more women from diverse backgrounds making decisions in Ottawa. Because when women succeed, we all succeed.”
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Despite the fact that women make up over 50% of the Canadian population, only 91 of Canada’s 338 seats in the House of Commons are held by women. That’s only 27% — and we all need to do better.
There are many reasons why women may not run or get involved in politics— including the lack of female representation in the first place, lack of financial support, the threat of physical or sexual violence or bullying, or the all-too-frequent focus on women’s physical attributes rather than their experience and political platform1. Some research suggests that a woman is 50% less likely than a man to consider herself a potential candidate for elected office.
The first step to increasing participation of women is to create space where they can feel safe, empowered, and encouraged to do so. The Liberal government has taken several steps in this regard, including putting more women in positions of power in government (Canada’s first gender-balanced cabinet) and in political leadership (the President of the Liberal Party of Canada, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, and senior staff throughout the Liberal team), tabling new legislation to address gender-based violence, establishing more flexible options for parental leave, applying gender-based analysis to government decisions, and protecting trans women by adding gender identity and expression to the Canadian Human Rights Act.
The Liberal Party is also taking important steps. New rules for the 2019 Nomination process mean that unheld ridings must demonstrate a thorough search for potential women candidates and other candidates who reflect the demographics of the community. And we continue to promote the inclusion of women as candidates, campaign managers, party staff, and volunteer leaders through initiatives like #InviteHerToRun and the Judy Lamarsh Fund.
51% - Proportion of Canadian Population that identifies as female
27%Women in House of Commons
29%Women in Liberal Caucus(4 new elected last year!)
50%Women in Cabinet
The Invite Her to Run initiative helped encourage several women to run for the Liberal Party in 2015. We all know a woman in our community who is a great leader -- and we need to encourage those women to get involved.
Too often, women who would make extraordinary candidates and Parliamentarians are not encouraged to step forward, or they see themselves as lacking the skills necessary to perform well in politics2.
And it’s not just running for office — there are lots of ways to get involved and make a difference. Whether it’s volunteering, getting involved with your local riding or Women’s Commission chapter, or playing a key role on campaign teams, it’s important for more women to feel empowered to seek those roles. When she does take the leap, it’ll often be because a trusted colleague, friend, or family member encouraged her.
Be that person, and invite her to run today:
Financial support is still a huge barrier for many women considering a run for office — and the Judy Lamarsh Fund helps to offset those costs for Liberal women candidates. Donate to this grassroots fund today and make a difference.