Mixed Member Proportional Leads to More Women MPs
*This information was prepared in support of the Mixed Member Proportional system for Ontario’s 2007 referendum on electoral reform.
How does MMP help elect more women?
There are many reasons why you should vote for a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system in Ontario’s October 10 referendum, but the most important reason is that it will almost certainly increase the number of women at Queen’s Park. All of the studies show without a doubtthat adopting any variation of proportional representation is likely to result in a significant increase in the proportion of women at Queen’s Park. There is a broad consensus by academics that our current First-Past-The-Post system in Canada creates the toughest conditions for electing equal numbers of men and women.The reason why MMP helps women is that political parties will have more control over the gender balance amongst their representatives- this allows more women to be elected via the party list. In the current system, the parties can do very little about the proportion of male and female candidates because individual ridings each make independent decisions about who their candidate will be.
Under an MMP system, party lists in Canada will almost certainly become more gender-balanced as parties attempt to appeal to female voters when they choose who goes on their lists. The end result should be more female candidates and more female MPPs.
Based on the results from the 2003 election, I can show you how an MMP system had the potential to realistically increase the proportion of female MPPs from our current 22.3% to somewhere between 27.9% and 31.0%.
A Historic Opportunity for Canadian Women
90% of Canadians would like to see more women in Parliament in Ottawa but as a country, we don’t seem to know quite how to make it happen. We now have the chance to make this change in Ontario. Other provinces will be watching Ontario to see what happens. It could have a domino effect across the country. Because of the changes it could ignite in other provinces and at the federal level, this is the most important vote that Ontario women will ever face- and most of us don’t even realize it.
This is a historic opportunity to ensure that more women are elected to office. If you are eligible to vote in the October referendum, please vote for MMP. The proposal must have the approval of 60% of voters, but it appears that most Ontarians (70%) don’t even know what MMP is so voter turnout is likely to be low. This referendum has already failed to pass in British Columbia because only 58% voted in favour. (This was still quite remarkable given that very little money was spent on educating the public about MMP.) Many of those who voted against MMP did not even know what they were voting against. Your vote matters!
Please take the time to educate yourself on the basics, take a look at the Referendum Ontario website.
For a more in-depth discussion, read the discussion with Peter MacLeod on The Globe and Mail’s website on August 2, 2007.
Also see the Women for Fair Voting website. If I haven’t managed to persuade you, there is some very good information on this site that will help you decide.