Rural frontier daunting for women in politics

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remind remind's picture
Rural frontier daunting for women in politics

Amid efforts to boost participation, research shows women twice as likely to get elected in urban areas

Rural areas are the daunting frontier for women with dreams of getting elected in Canada, according to new, in-depth research.

Louise Carbert, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, has been systematically analyzing how female politicians are faring in Canada's urban-rural divide. Carbert's work has been published in Sylvia Bashevkin's new book, Opening Doors Wider: Women's Political Engagement in Canada. Carbert's main – and sobering – finding is that women are twice as likely to get elected in Canada if they come from urban areas. In 2008, women were elected in 31 per cent of the most densely populated areas of Canada, compared to 14 per cent in rural districts.

"This ratio has persisted over several decades despite substantial increases in the number of women elected overall," Carbert's study says.

So if you're serious about upping the numbers of women in Canadian legislatures, she says, you have to get out of the cities, and into the country.

The comments at the end of the article are interesting, are rural women opting out, or are they not getting elected?

Going to have browse around Pundit's Guide looking a federal rural ridings to see if there is some type of pattern emerging in federal politics.

It may be tough though, as so many rural ridings are intertwined with portions of urban ones.

My riding for example is partially urban and rural,  at both provincial and federal levels, and it has women representatives in both.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

Interesting article Remind. Thanks for posting it.  I pondered your questions before I read the whole article and am now pondering even more.  I think I might have to get that book as it likely goes into more detail about potential reasons for the difference in numbers.  I can't see it as being because women are less engaged in rural communities.  My experience though entirely anecdotal is that there are many women that are involved at a local level whether directly in municipal councils or indirectly through the numerous community groups and organizations that fall into the political and social fabrics of a community.   I wonder if the study looked at the comparison of numbers of women elected at a municipal level.  I'd be interested to find out about that. I'm just thinking that I have known and do know quite a number of female mayors and reeves as well as council members.

remind remind's picture

The article delves into that a bit, where it says more women are involved directly in community building, and see external to the community politics as an animal they do not want to tangle with, as it goes against "our nature". Paraphrased of course.