Fewer women running in federal election in Hamilton compared to national trend

News Sep 09, 2021 by Matthew Van Dongen Hamilton Spectator

Women make up less than a third of Hamilton candidates in the federal election despite a national trend that is inching closer to gender parity.

Tracking by non-partisan group Equal Voice shows 43 per cent of candidates confirmed at the deadline last week are women or gender diverse, a slight increase compared to the 2019 federal election.

But in Hamilton’s five ridings, the numbers skew heavily male, with only seven women and at least one gender-diverse resident running for office among 29 candidates.

Of the three biggest political parties, only the Liberals have women running in Hamilton — a fact the party emphasized in a downtown meet-and-greet in August advertised under the Twitter hashtag #AddWomenChangePolitics.

“It’s about making sure half of Canada’s population is represented in politics and making decisions reflecting the experiences of women and girls,” said retiring Liberal minister Catherine McKenna, who attended the event and online celebrated the fact women were running for the party in three of five ridings in her Hamilton hometown.

Nationally, however, Equal Voice found the NDP is the only major party to reach gender parity in 2021, with 52 per cent of candidates identifying as women or gender diverse. The party is also pledging to introduce legislation “to encourage political parties to run more women candidates.”

Equal Voice found the Liberals and Conservatives also made incremental gains over 2019, with women nominated in 43 per cent and 33 per cent of ridings, respectively. Via email, the Tories noted they are fielding the most women candidates ever — 114 — among an “impressive range of candidates from all walks of life and all backgrounds.”

In Hamilton, women running with party support in the federal election include: Lisa Hepfner (Hamilton Mountain), Filomena Tassi (HWAD) and Margaret Bennett (Hamilton Centre) under the Liberal banner; Victoria Galea (HWAD) and Avra Caroline Weinstein (Hamilton Centre) for the Greens and Chelsey Taylor (Hamilton Mountain) for the PPC.

In Hamilton Centre, Nathalie Xian Yi Yan is running as an independent and Nigel Cheriyan identifies as a genderqueer candidate for the Communist Party.

More diversity among election candidates — in both gender and ethnicity — is welcome, said Karen Bird, chair of McMaster University’s political science department — but simply nominating more women is not enough.

Bird, who is researching political representation among women, Indigenous and ethnic minorities, said studies show major Canadian parties tend to run more women in perceived “no-hope” ridings, while men are more often tasked with trying to win back or maintain seats in areas where the party is considered competitive.

Hamilton has three ridings with no incumbent MP, but only two women are running in those “open” races: Hepfner and Taylor, both on Hamilton Mountain.

“So yes, you are nominating more women … but in many cases to be the sacrificial lamb,” Bird said. True progress, she argued, would be a greater proportion of women elected to Parliament.

She called the Liberal government of 2015’s decision to insist on gender parity in cabinet “encouraging,” but also pointed out that two years later, only 30 per cent of all elected representatives were women.

Short of quotas or systemic electoral reform, she said it’s up to the public to “put pressure” on the party gatekeepers who ultimately control candidate selection.

“We need to demand better,” said Bird, who is part of a 2021 research project that will measure voter response to diverse candidates. “Especially of those parties that win the most seats.”

Equal Voice is urging all Canadians to support women candidates — with votes, donations or other public signs of encouragement like lawn signs. The advocacy group is hoping the country will elect closer to 40 per cent women or gender-diverse MPs on Sept. 20.

In future, party leaders, riding associations and party members should work harder to attract and reduce barriers for women candidates, as well as overcome “persistent social stereotypes” around gender roles, Bird said.

Harassment can be one of those barriers, said McKenna in an earlier interview with The Spectator after announcing she would not run for office again in 2021.

The outspoken environment and later infrastructure minister endured regular online harassment, threats and at one point office vandalism over six years in politics, forcing her to travel with a rare security detail.

McKenna said she plans to write about how women can succeed in politics and has been vocal about drawing attention to online harassment of women and racialized politicians.

Fewer women running in federal election in Hamilton compared to national trend

The Sept. 20 vote will feature a record-high percentage of women candidates across Canada — but not in Hamilton’s five ridings.

News Sep 09, 2021 by Matthew Van Dongen Hamilton Spectator

Women make up less than a third of Hamilton candidates in the federal election despite a national trend that is inching closer to gender parity.

Tracking by non-partisan group Equal Voice shows 43 per cent of candidates confirmed at the deadline last week are women or gender diverse, a slight increase compared to the 2019 federal election.

But in Hamilton’s five ridings, the numbers skew heavily male, with only seven women and at least one gender-diverse resident running for office among 29 candidates.

Of the three biggest political parties, only the Liberals have women running in Hamilton — a fact the party emphasized in a downtown meet-and-greet in August advertised under the Twitter hashtag #AddWomenChangePolitics.

“It’s about making sure half of Canada’s population is represented in politics and making decisions reflecting the experiences of women and girls,” said retiring Liberal minister Catherine McKenna, who attended the event and online celebrated the fact women were running for the party in three of five ridings in her Hamilton hometown.

Nationally, however, Equal Voice found the NDP is the only major party to reach gender parity in 2021, with 52 per cent of candidates identifying as women or gender diverse. The party is also pledging to introduce legislation “to encourage political parties to run more women candidates.”

Equal Voice found the Liberals and Conservatives also made incremental gains over 2019, with women nominated in 43 per cent and 33 per cent of ridings, respectively. Via email, the Tories noted they are fielding the most women candidates ever — 114 — among an “impressive range of candidates from all walks of life and all backgrounds.”

In Hamilton, women running with party support in the federal election include: Lisa Hepfner (Hamilton Mountain), Filomena Tassi (HWAD) and Margaret Bennett (Hamilton Centre) under the Liberal banner; Victoria Galea (HWAD) and Avra Caroline Weinstein (Hamilton Centre) for the Greens and Chelsey Taylor (Hamilton Mountain) for the PPC.

In Hamilton Centre, Nathalie Xian Yi Yan is running as an independent and Nigel Cheriyan identifies as a genderqueer candidate for the Communist Party.

More diversity among election candidates — in both gender and ethnicity — is welcome, said Karen Bird, chair of McMaster University’s political science department — but simply nominating more women is not enough.

Bird, who is researching political representation among women, Indigenous and ethnic minorities, said studies show major Canadian parties tend to run more women in perceived “no-hope” ridings, while men are more often tasked with trying to win back or maintain seats in areas where the party is considered competitive.

Hamilton has three ridings with no incumbent MP, but only two women are running in those “open” races: Hepfner and Taylor, both on Hamilton Mountain.

“So yes, you are nominating more women … but in many cases to be the sacrificial lamb,” Bird said. True progress, she argued, would be a greater proportion of women elected to Parliament.

She called the Liberal government of 2015’s decision to insist on gender parity in cabinet “encouraging,” but also pointed out that two years later, only 30 per cent of all elected representatives were women.

Short of quotas or systemic electoral reform, she said it’s up to the public to “put pressure” on the party gatekeepers who ultimately control candidate selection.

“We need to demand better,” said Bird, who is part of a 2021 research project that will measure voter response to diverse candidates. “Especially of those parties that win the most seats.”

Equal Voice is urging all Canadians to support women candidates — with votes, donations or other public signs of encouragement like lawn signs. The advocacy group is hoping the country will elect closer to 40 per cent women or gender-diverse MPs on Sept. 20.

In future, party leaders, riding associations and party members should work harder to attract and reduce barriers for women candidates, as well as overcome “persistent social stereotypes” around gender roles, Bird said.

Harassment can be one of those barriers, said McKenna in an earlier interview with The Spectator after announcing she would not run for office again in 2021.

The outspoken environment and later infrastructure minister endured regular online harassment, threats and at one point office vandalism over six years in politics, forcing her to travel with a rare security detail.

McKenna said she plans to write about how women can succeed in politics and has been vocal about drawing attention to online harassment of women and racialized politicians.

Fewer women running in federal election in Hamilton compared to national trend

The Sept. 20 vote will feature a record-high percentage of women candidates across Canada — but not in Hamilton’s five ridings.

News Sep 09, 2021 by Matthew Van Dongen Hamilton Spectator

Women make up less than a third of Hamilton candidates in the federal election despite a national trend that is inching closer to gender parity.

Tracking by non-partisan group Equal Voice shows 43 per cent of candidates confirmed at the deadline last week are women or gender diverse, a slight increase compared to the 2019 federal election.

But in Hamilton’s five ridings, the numbers skew heavily male, with only seven women and at least one gender-diverse resident running for office among 29 candidates.

Of the three biggest political parties, only the Liberals have women running in Hamilton — a fact the party emphasized in a downtown meet-and-greet in August advertised under the Twitter hashtag #AddWomenChangePolitics.

“It’s about making sure half of Canada’s population is represented in politics and making decisions reflecting the experiences of women and girls,” said retiring Liberal minister Catherine McKenna, who attended the event and online celebrated the fact women were running for the party in three of five ridings in her Hamilton hometown.

Nationally, however, Equal Voice found the NDP is the only major party to reach gender parity in 2021, with 52 per cent of candidates identifying as women or gender diverse. The party is also pledging to introduce legislation “to encourage political parties to run more women candidates.”

Equal Voice found the Liberals and Conservatives also made incremental gains over 2019, with women nominated in 43 per cent and 33 per cent of ridings, respectively. Via email, the Tories noted they are fielding the most women candidates ever — 114 — among an “impressive range of candidates from all walks of life and all backgrounds.”

In Hamilton, women running with party support in the federal election include: Lisa Hepfner (Hamilton Mountain), Filomena Tassi (HWAD) and Margaret Bennett (Hamilton Centre) under the Liberal banner; Victoria Galea (HWAD) and Avra Caroline Weinstein (Hamilton Centre) for the Greens and Chelsey Taylor (Hamilton Mountain) for the PPC.

In Hamilton Centre, Nathalie Xian Yi Yan is running as an independent and Nigel Cheriyan identifies as a genderqueer candidate for the Communist Party.

More diversity among election candidates — in both gender and ethnicity — is welcome, said Karen Bird, chair of McMaster University’s political science department — but simply nominating more women is not enough.

Bird, who is researching political representation among women, Indigenous and ethnic minorities, said studies show major Canadian parties tend to run more women in perceived “no-hope” ridings, while men are more often tasked with trying to win back or maintain seats in areas where the party is considered competitive.

Hamilton has three ridings with no incumbent MP, but only two women are running in those “open” races: Hepfner and Taylor, both on Hamilton Mountain.

“So yes, you are nominating more women … but in many cases to be the sacrificial lamb,” Bird said. True progress, she argued, would be a greater proportion of women elected to Parliament.

She called the Liberal government of 2015’s decision to insist on gender parity in cabinet “encouraging,” but also pointed out that two years later, only 30 per cent of all elected representatives were women.

Short of quotas or systemic electoral reform, she said it’s up to the public to “put pressure” on the party gatekeepers who ultimately control candidate selection.

“We need to demand better,” said Bird, who is part of a 2021 research project that will measure voter response to diverse candidates. “Especially of those parties that win the most seats.”

Equal Voice is urging all Canadians to support women candidates — with votes, donations or other public signs of encouragement like lawn signs. The advocacy group is hoping the country will elect closer to 40 per cent women or gender-diverse MPs on Sept. 20.

In future, party leaders, riding associations and party members should work harder to attract and reduce barriers for women candidates, as well as overcome “persistent social stereotypes” around gender roles, Bird said.

Harassment can be one of those barriers, said McKenna in an earlier interview with The Spectator after announcing she would not run for office again in 2021.

The outspoken environment and later infrastructure minister endured regular online harassment, threats and at one point office vandalism over six years in politics, forcing her to travel with a rare security detail.

McKenna said she plans to write about how women can succeed in politics and has been vocal about drawing attention to online harassment of women and racialized politicians.