New Brunswick lags behind Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec Nova Scotia Newfoundland and the Northwest Territories.
This is not about men vs women – this is about gender-balanced politics. It is about ensuring our political representatives better reflect the actual people they represent. It is about the female voice being heard and respected. Repeated intense longitudinal research by many sources prove better outcomes result from gender-balanced decision-making – faster decisions, more effective actions taken, better financial outcomes, the conversations change and are of higher quality.
Women have always been a strong force on social reform. Research shows that when you have more women in public decision-making, you get policies that benefit women, children and families in general; that reflect the ‘common good’.As primary caregivers in our society, women bring a unique perspective that must be reflected in our policy making system. Women understand intimately the complexities of: childcare, senior care, healthcare, education systems and school programs, poverty impacts and reduction measures and safety on our streets as well as in our homes in terms of gender-based violence, addiction, bullying and many more.
Women are significantly under-represented with only 16% female representation in the current New Brunswick Provincial Legislative Assembly. 87% of incumbents are male, which is a challenge in terms of getting more women elected. There is sound and sustained research that equality in all major institutional decision-making improves social and economic outcomes.
There is no other one single group in New Brunswick or in Canada who are only laser-focused on getting to gender equality in their provincial legislature. Women for 50% have one raison d’être – gender parity in the New Brunswick Legislature. We came together, in a non-partisan way, as a group of strong leaders with different backgrounds; business, political and social strongly believing that we could and would make a difference. We are all committed to the actions which will achieve the goal.
We are stalling. We are losing ground in terms of percentage of seats in the Legislature since the 1990’s. Our political infrastructure being dominated by men, this creates a self-fulfilling momentum of more men being supported and elected. The benefits of gender equality, including the rich perspective of women and their experiences in policy-making, are increasingly evident. We need to continue to build networks for women, educate them on what is essential in an election campaign and build a strong foundation for the province. The electorate needs to know that more women candidates must be nominated and elected. New Brunswick has an opportunity to lead the way back to gender equality!