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Women, Gender, and Politics

N05 - Micro-Paper Roundtable: Evaluating Equality in Canada's Elected Bodies: Insights on Today and Recommendations for Tomorrow

Date: Jun 4 | Time: 01:30pm to 03:00pm | Location: SWING 121

Chair/Président/Présidente : Fiona MacDonald (University of the Fraser Valley)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Jeanette Ashe (Douglas College)

Evaluating Equality in Canada's Elected Bodies: Insights on Today and Recommendations for Tomorrow:

Sarah Childs (Birkbeck University of London)
Susan Franceschet (University of Calgary)
Erin Tolley (University of Toronto)
Melanee Thomas (University of Calgary)
Clare McGovern (Simon Fraser University)
Amanda Bittner (Memorial University)
Brenda O'Neill (University of Calgary)
Laurel Weldon (Simon Fraser University)
Meagan Cloutier (University of Calgary)

Abstract: Exploring the gender sensitivity of parliaments is a burgeoning area of study in Europe. In attempts to move away from traditional male-dominated memberships toward one of greater equality many parliaments are engaged in promoting the merits of gender equality. While there has been considerable research on women’s descriptive and substantive representation in Canada, the concept and practice of gender sensitive parliaments at the national, provincial, territorial, and local levels is under-explored. It is a good time to more closely consider the relationship between this country’s legislative bodies’ practices, procedures, and frameworks, and gender equality. Canada’s PM is a self-identified feminist who, shortly after winning the 2015 election, appointed the first national sex-balanced cabinet, and across the country governments and parties are increasingly keen to present themselves as the most diverse, with many jockeying for first place in the number of women, ethnic minority, and Indigenous candidates fielded. Yet it is unclear whether such symbolism and rhetoric is leading to substantively more gender sensitive legislative bodies. Presenters for this round-table theoretically unpack the concept ‘gender sensitive parliaments’ and empirically explore why some national and sub-national legislatures and municipal councils in Canada are more gender sensitive than others, recommending actions to make them more gender sensitive, where needed.