More than half of Canadians say more women aren’t needed in politics, even though only 26 per cent of the seats in the House of Commons are filled by women, according to a recent study.
The study was done by Abacus Data in partnership with Equal Voice Canada and found 54 per cent of Canadians polled thought there were the “right amount” of women in Canadian politics. Four per cent said there were too many.
On average, Canadians thought women took up four per cent more seats in the House (31 per cent) than they actually do.
“I think it’s because we, as a country, value equality and democracy, so people don’t realize how low women’s representation is,” said Grace Lore, senior researcher at Equal Voice Canada.
Lore said gender parity in the federal cabinet, on top of the fact that women hold leadership positions in three provinces, including Alberta, could contribute to Canadians’ misconceptions about how well women are represented in Canadian politics.
“Those three provinces with women leaders—those are the provinces that have the highest number of women in politics,” she added, referring to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, B.C. Premier Christy Clark and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.
Lore said in the last federal election, only 33 per cent of candidates were women.
“We aren’t seeing women on the ballot.”
When asked what the biggest obstacle was to women entering politics, 30 per cent said it was the negativity. Twenty-eight per cent said political parties don’t recruit enough women.
LISTEN: What Canadians think about women in politics
“Sometimes all it takes is for people in those parties, with those networks, to encourage women to run,” Lore added.
“There’s lots of talent and we would benefit from more of that talent being in politics.”
Lore said her organization hopes to encourage more women to run for politics.
The survey was conducted online by 2,125 Canadians aged 18 and over from Feb. 10 to 16, 2017. A random sample of panelists was chosen from a larger representative panel of over 500,000 Canadians.
The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of 2,150 is +/- 2.2%, 19 times out of 20