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Why We Need More Women in Parliament

MMP Leads to More Women MPs

How the Electoral System Matters for Electing Women

Understanding Why More Women Get Elected Through MMP

Projected Increase in Women MPs Under MMP

Understanding Party Lists

Why is it important to elect more women to Queen’s Park?

Women focus on different issues
On a substantive level, studies systematically show that female politicians are more likely to concentrate on issues that matter more to women such as daycare, gender equality, reproductive rights, flex time, elderly care, children’s welfare.1 It seems pretty intuitive that there are some issues that are more important to women and affect them more. It also seems like common sense that women would be more likely to focus on these issues than men.
One example from the US context comes from Debra Dodson’s research. She shows that the Women’s Health Initiative was only passed because women in Congress fought for it. Before this program was established, Dodson points out that the majority of medical research on heart disease was being done on men even though women were twice as susceptible to heart disease.2  This is but one example of many.
The problem is that there needs to be a critical mass of women to put these issues on the political agenda. Otherwise they simply become the pet projects of a small minority of legislators— never mind the fact that this “small minority” actually represents 52% of the population. Still, the under-representation of women is not a situation that is unique to Canada. There are very few countries in the world of managed to consistently elect more than 33% women to their national legislatures.
Women have different styles of governing
Not only do women politicians take an interest in different policy issues, but it has also been shown that they also govern differently. Lyn Kathlene shows that American female politicians have very different leadership styles from their male counterparts; her study on state legislature committee chairs reveals that women are generally more cooperative and emphasize consensus-building while men are more aggressive.
Women are less corrupt
A lesser-known fact about female politicians is that, at the global level, they are generally less corrupt.3 Two studies have found a statistically significant correlation between a higher proportion of women in government and a lower level of corruption at both the national and local level.4
1 See Burrell, B.C., A woman’s place is in the House : campaigning for Congress in the feminist era. 1994, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press; Swers, M.L., The difference women make: the policy impact of women in Congress. 2002, Chicago: University of Chicago Press; Lijphart, A., Debate- Proportional Representation III. Double Checking the Evidence. Journal of Democracy, 1991. 2(1):42-8.
2 See Dodson, D.L., Representing women’s interests in the US House of Representatives in Thomas, S. and C. Wilcox, Women and elective office : past, present, and future. 1998, New York: Oxford University Press.
3 See Anand Swamy, Stephen Knack, Young Lee and Omar Azfar, Gender and corruption, Journal of Development Economics 64 (2001, February), pp. 25–55.
4 See Kudva, Neema (2001). “Engineering elections: The experiences of women in Panchayati Raj in Karnataka, India.” Paper presented at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, Cleveland; and Dollar, David, Fisman, Raymond, & Gatti, Roberta (1999). “Are women really the ‘fairer’ sex? Corruption and women in government,” World Bank Working Paper Series #4. Washington DC.
15 Comments leave one →
  1. April 5, 2014 8:08 am

    I handy interested on this . Its greatful

  2. April 5, 2014 8:11 am


  3. June 5, 2015 3:50 pm

    Yes indeed we do need more Women in Government , but please non unlike the late Maggie Thatcher .or as like David Cameron one man to many that puts lives at risk as it is . that neither but themselves are and were they” in it ” together as are many pompous dictators without compassion but for the greedy and not the needy of this country who work for peanuts !!!!!!!!

  4. Kevin simiyu permalink
    February 23, 2016 7:03 am

    But women in kenya are also corrupt,, in the case of Anne Waiguru.

  5. Amber Thomas permalink
    January 28, 2017 9:56 am

    Hello! I’m interested in learning all the details about this topic, so I just want to know what are the links of the studies that prove these facts so I can study them! (Women are less corrupt : 2 researches). Thanks a lot!

  6. May 3, 2017 2:44 am

    you suck

  7. January 22, 2018 1:19 pm

    Awesome post. Thank your for sharing such a nice article.


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  2. The Positive Correlation between Women in Parliament and Standard of Living in High Income Nations. | Censor-Non-Grata
  3. Farheen Khan, Mississauga Centre
  4. The House Rises | 10 Minutes of Words
  5. Of women, politics and power - Benjamin Philip George
  6. Of Women, Politics and Power | MPUK
  7. Day 13: Women in politics – feminismfortnight

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