Results of a new survey released by Equal Voice highlighting why now more than ever, young women and gender diverse individuals need to feel encouraged and empowered to run for office, show that Canadians agree that having more women in politics would have a positive impact on government policy, actions and decisions.
“Our democratic institutions are facing the biggest threat in decades, and we need to empower the political leaders of the future to stand up and lead,” said Eleanor Fast, executive director of Equal Voice. “Our survey results show that young women in Canada value community service, and see holding elected office as an opportunity to serve their communities, yet they are significantly less likely to be approached to run, or to feel qualified or comfortable putting their names forward. This needs to change.”
Conducted online by Abacus Data, questions were asked of the general public, with a more detailed survey of 1,500 women aged 18-30, and found:
85% of Canadians say having more women in politics would have a positive impact on government policy, actions, and decisions.
When it comes to women running – one in five would actively consider running for office.
The biggest perceived barrier was not knowing enough to run for office.
Women are being approached to run for office half as often as men (7% vs. 14%).
“Not only are women not being approached, or feeling as though they are qualified to run, many don’t think that the work-life balance for elected officials is good, and are concerned about the potential harassment they would face as candidates or as elected officials,” added Eleanor Fast. “This survey shows the urgent need for Equal Voice’s work in providing political training for women, and advocating for women politicians”.
Equal Voice is a national organisation, founded in 2001, dedicated to encouraging and supporting women to run for political office at all levels in Canada. It is a multi-party organisation, with individuals from all political parties working together for a common cause. Women are over 50% of Canada’s population and currently comprise an average of 25% of Canada’s municipal councils, provincial legislatures and the House of Commons.
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day was about breaking the bias, and showing that there is still a lot of work to be done for young women to feel comfortable and empowered to step forward as potential elected officials.
For more information on this latest survey, and to learn more about Equal Voice’s initiatives, visit equalvoice.ca.