Skip to Main Content
Still Counting

Still Counting: Women in Politics Across Canada

Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 2
Pages: 210
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Still Counting
    Book Description:

    "Still Countingis a state-of-the-art examination of women's involvement in Canadian politics.... This book belongs on the shelf of anyone with an interest in contemporary Canadian politics." - Lisa Young, University of Calgary

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-0214-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. IX-X)
  4. PREFACE: Why Are We Still Counting?
    (pp. XI-XVI)
  5. CHAPTER 1 Introduction: Still Counting
    (pp. 1-13)

    For several years running, Canada was cited by the United Nations as the best country in which to live, but lost the number one spot in 2001. As well, in all those years, Canada ranked only ninth for females once factors involving social development were calculated. How could Canada have been the best place to live if one was male but not if female? The answer in part is that, despite recent advances, Canada continues to be outpaced by Scandinavian countries in its quality of life for women. This is not the only reason that this country lost its number...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Counting Matters: The Numbers Game and Women’s Political Power
    (pp. 14-41)

    For a long time, women legislators were too few and far between to be considered worthy of study. In the first 50 years after the official entry of some Canadian women to electoral politics (1916–66), only eight women in all had been elected to the House of Commons, 46 to provincial and territorial legislatures, and nine appointed to the Senate. Thérèse Casgrain was the lone woman to lead a political party; she headed the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in Quebec between 1951 and 1957. Elected and appointed at an average rate of two every three years for the first...

  7. CHAPTER 3 The Electoral Glass Ceiling
    (pp. 42-68)

    Until the mid-1980s, women were novelties in Canada’s legislatures, comprising less than 10 per cent of elected representatives in most jurisdictions. Female representatives were so rare that in some legislatures it was thought unnecessary to have women’s washrooms close to the chamber. Women elected to the House of Commons in the 1970s used the washroom in the “Parliamentary Wives’ Retiring Lounge.” Not much had changed in this regard by the 1990s. Shortly after the late Liberal MP Shaughnessy Cohen was elected in 1993 she missed a vote in the House while she searched for the women’s washroom. Cohen protested, and a...

  8. CHAPTER 4 It’s a Drag: Where Have All the Women Leaders Gone?
    (pp. 69-99)

    When Toronto transvestite Enza “Supermodel” Anderson announced her bid for the leadership of the Canadian Alliance in December 2001, she said Stockwell Day’s short-lived and troubled experience in the post suggested the job is “a real drag.” As a self-declared “drag queen-supermodel extraordinaire,” Enza concluded she was perfect for the post.¹ The experience of female party leaders in Canada certainly supports Anderson’s contention that the job is not easy. Women are typically pulled into the role to prop up ailing parties, often in the (vain) hope that they can miraculously resurrect political organizations destined for electoral destruction. They face infighting,...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Spice Girls and Old Spice Boys: Getting There is Only Half the Battle
    (pp. 100-122)

    Frustrated with heckling directed at him during a spring 1998 session of question period in the Alberta legislature, Acting Premier (and then Treasurer) Stockwell Day complained, “It’s sometimes difficult to maintain a focus with all thechirping from the Spice Girlsover there” (emphasis ours).¹ Day’s likening of female members of the Liberal opposition to the “girls” in the then popular British band was not well received by the women he targeted. Liberal MLA Colleen Soetaert felt the comment showed “a lack of respect for women in the legislature.” Her colleague Sue Olsen summarized her reaction this way, “I’m getting...

  10. CHAPTER 6 Counting for Something: Women in Politics Can Make A Difference
    (pp. 123-156)

    The purpose of the electoral project is to elect more women to legislatures, with an eventual target of about 50 per cent seats for women. Regardless of what phrase is used to describe this goal—the electoral project, equality in representation, gender parity—its aims are balance, equity, and fairness. To suggest otherwise is to imply that women, who comprise more than half the population, do not merit their fair share of political power. In addition, many of the advocates for increasing the political presence of women, like us, are not content with symbolic representation, though we recognize its importance....

  11. CHAPTER 7 Conclusion: Halfway to Equal?
    (pp. 157-164)

    Anyone concerned about women’s equality must still count numbers, although numbers certainly are not all that count. Attention needs also to be given to policy issues, as well as to broadening the range of people selected and the diversity of political perspectives aired. Until the numbers of women elected approach gender parity, however, the quality of representation will remain constrained by sex and race bias and the discrimination and artificial narrowing of viewpoints that implies. Equality between the genders remains an important political goal because it remains a key indicator of social change. Much work remains to be done if...

  12. Appendix I: Women Legislators and Senators, 1916–1969
    (pp. 165-170)
  13. Appendix II: Women Legislators and Senators, 1970–1985
    (pp. 171-180)
  14. Glossary
    (pp. 181-185)
  15. Endnotes
    (pp. 186-197)
  16. Website Information and Web Links
    (pp. 198-199)
  17. Works Cited
    (pp. 200-206)
  18. Index
    (pp. 207-210)