Last week - a study from Simon Fraser University was released looking at barriers for women getting into local government. The study was done by Masters of Public Policy student Halena Seiferling who interviewed seven female councillors and mayors from Victoria, Vancouver, Surrey, Calgary, Regina, and Saskatoon.
Ms. Seiferling was interviewed by News 1130 last Monday - read here while you can read the full study here
In doing the study - she says:
“Though many people may assume that municipal politics is more welcoming to women, this study shows that problems persist even at the municipal level. My research advocates for municipalities to have equal numbers of men and women on their advisory committees and boards in order to begin to combat this problem.”
Looking at local governments across the Region who have female elected officials:
Quesnel - 1 Female on a local government of 7 members
Wells - 3 Females on a local government of 5 members
Williams Lake - 2 Females on a local government of 7 members
100 Mile House - 0 Females on a local government of 5 members
Cariboo Regional District - 3 Females on a local government of 16 members
School District #28 (Quesnel) - 3 Females on a local government of 7 members
School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) - 5 Females on a local government of 7 members
The United Nations has suggested that local government should aim for 30% of its' entire membership be held by females to ensure public policy meets the needs of women.
On that basis - only the District of Wells and School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) meet the UN guideline
However - as a male elected official, I often appreciate the 3 Female Directors (Sorley, Wagner and Anderson) that serve their respective Electoral Areas (F, H and K) on our Cariboo Regional District Board and often consult them on matters before us. In addition, my own Alternate Director is both female and of First Nation background, so those perspectives I often call upon when I'm not sure on how to proceed on an issue...
Last term - 6 of the 16 Directors of the Cariboo Regional District were female which met the UN guidelines for male/female ratio in local government (30% of entire membership be female)
Finally - the Federation of Canadian Muncipalities has support for female elected officials - you can see those here