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Why Close the Gender Gap

 
Wise Words
None of us have made it, until all of us have made it.

Rosemary Brown (1939-1986)

In 1972 she became the first black woman to be elected to a legislature in Canada.

If you want equality, you have to have equal responsibility.

Betty Friedan
The Feminine Mystique

Thirty per cent is a minimum objective. The goal should be 50 per cent.

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette,
Senator and former federal minister

 


In an inclusive, democratic system all citizens must be equally and fairly represented. Women’s voices can especially strengthen public policy debates by bringing to the fore issues of direct concern to many women, such as wage parity, reproductive rights, childcare, and violence against women. A broad representation of women is also necessary because differences among women expand the information base upon which decisions are made and result in higher quality decisions. Furthermore, the absence of equal representation in government reinforces barriers to entry by maintaining a political arena that is inhospitable to equitable power sharing between genders. As Janet Wiegand concludes, “this appears to translate into a subtle but potent discouragement and alienation of female citizens, fewer women wishing to run for political office, and widespread disillusionment among Canada’s young women (and men).” (Women & Electoral Reform, page 4) In the final analysis, the gender gap contributes significantly to voter apathy and cynicism, thereby dismantling effective political process.



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