Women for Fair Voting
Fair voting elects more women… naturally!
With 24.7% female MPs in Parliament, Canada ranks 54th in the world for the representation of women, behind countries such as Afghanistan. We rank 20 out of 34 OECD countries. Thanks to our winner-take-all voting system, over the past 15-20 years the percentage of women elected has levelled off – women have hit a glass ceiling. Having a Parliament and legislatures composed of over 75% men has profound implications for policy development and the dynamics of decision making.
The United Nations recommends that for women’s voices to be heard, we need at least 30% women in Parliament. All of the top countries for representation of women, and almost any country with over 30% women in its legislature, uses proportional representation.
In Menocracy, independent film maker Gretchen Kelbaugh takes a closer look at the low levels of women in our Parliament, how more women make a difference, and the key connection to our electoral system.
Read the research from Menocracy.
Watch the Trailer (insert clickable picture of trailer http://gretchk.webs.com/apps/videos/videos/show/16461013-trailer)
- The top countries for representation of women use proportional representation (PR).
- The majority of the world’s democracies use one form or another of proportional representation. This includes all of Europe. Also Scotland, Wales, Ireland and New Zealand use PR for their parliaments.
- All PR countries use lists–and those countries’ citizens think lists are fair and democratic.
- In PR countries, candidates are democratically nominated and elected.
- Lists are the feature that give voters choice and create opportunities for the nomination and election of women.
- Lists are transparent, and voters can readily see if a party is fairly nominating diverse candidates.
- Our winner-take-all system is not transparent, and fails to represent women and minorities. In fact… the majority of us who are underrepresented.
What you can do to get more women elected
- Talk to as many people as you can about how our present system keeps us from electing more women.
- Support groups such as Fair Vote Canada and Equal Voice.
- Visit your MMP/MP and ask that he or she publicly support the voting system change.
- Talk to your friends and neighbours about the need to change our system to one with proportionality.
- If you are a member of a party, ask that the gatekeepers make a greater attempt to nominate women and minorities.
- We have reached a “glass ceiling” of approximately 20%-25% representation of women in parliament and legislatures across Canada.
- At the rate we are electing women, it will be over a hundred years before we reach parity.
- Canada ranks _???_th (hint: start looking between 40th and 50th) in the world in representation of women in parliament. We trail countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Because of this, national, regional and local priorities such as how resources are allocated are typically defined without meaningful input from women.
- The United Nations has stated that we need at least 30% representation for our voices to be heard.
- Studies of proportional representation reveal that it sufficiently alters the political structure to enable women to transcend the ‘winner-take-all’ competition for votes we now see in Canada.
- Changing a country’s electoral system often represents a far more realistic goal to work towards than dramatically changing the culture’s view of women.