Women in rural and remote politics - Is change possible?
WARNING: Cursing and at least one f-bomb - at the latter end of the episode
This episode focuses on some of the abysmal stats when it comes to the representation of women in Canada, particularly rural Canada and what we should be doing about it. Shari Graydon joins me, the creator and head of the organization, Informed Opinions. And I’ll also talk to a current female mayor about her experience and why she’s not running again. Mayor of Peterborough, Ontario, Diane Therrien and I have a chat. Feel free to drop me an email if you have a comment.
Shari Graydon -Informed Opinions
That was the voice of former Nunvut MP, Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, in her speech in parliament before leaving her seat last year.
Many women, and particularly marginalized women, are targeted, not just by parliamentary opponents but often by members of the public, in their own communities.
But some of the worst abuse comes from social media.
Is it any wonder women in rural and remote Canada aren’t running? In both rural Manitoba and rural Ontario, a vast number of mayors and reeves in this year’s municipal elections are being acclaimed, facing no competition.
Across Canada women make up less than a third of elected officials. That means 2 out of 3 current politicians will never experience periods, pay discrimination, or sexual objectification.
2 out of 3 will never be reduced to their gender.
How do we expect those politicians to prioritize issues that don’t affect them?
In 2000 Canada ranked 27th in the world for women’s representation in parliament.
Now we’re 60th.
A new Abacus Data study found that two out of three Canadians are either concerned, disappointed, surprised or angry to learn that Canada ranks so poorly. And the majority think political parties or the government — rather than women themselves — should be responsible for ensuring equal representation of men and women in politics.
The organization, Informed Opinionscommissioned the study. Informed Opinions amplifies the voices of women and gender-diverse individuals for a more democratic Canada. Shari Graydon created Informed Opinions with the aim of bridging the gender gap in Canadian public discourse.
She joins me to talk about the study, the state of women in politics here in Canada and about Informed Opinion’s new campaign, Balance of Power.
Diane Therrien - Current Mayor of Peterborough, Ontario
WARNING: Cursing and at least one f-bomb
Someone who has had some of that airtime, as the Mayor of Peterborough, Ontario, is Diane Therrien. Mayor Therrien has not been shy about giving it back to folks that have disrupted her town in the name of Freedom during the throes of the pandemic and even this summer. She’s not afraid to curse, dropping f-bombs and in her words, ‘blocking trolls with abandon’ on Twitter. She’s fielded some of the most public vitriol with a fierceness that inspires.
But she’s not running again in this year’s municipal election.
She talks openly about her experience, the myriad of reasons why she isn’t running again including the misogyny and patriarchy she faced, and occasionally from senior staff and what she hopes for the future.