Percentage of Women in PEI Legislature Down
The PEI Coalition for Women in Government disappointed to see a decrease in the number of women elected to the legislature.
May 5, 2015, CHARLOTTETOWN — With the conclusion of the 2015 election, the PEI Coalition for Women in Government can confirm that the Legislature will see a decrease in the number of women elected. Five of twenty-seven (18.5%) MLAs declared elected in yesterday’s race are women, down from 22.2% in 2011.
"We are disappointed to see a decrease in the number of women elected to the legislature." says Dawn Wilson, Executive Director of the PEI Coalition for Women in Government. "Despite this decrease, women candidates received 24% of the popular vote" added Wilson. This tracks very closely to the overall percentage of women candidates at 29.5%., supporting previous research by the Coalition that indicates voters do not discriminate against women at the polls. Rather the barrier lies with getting women’s names on the ballots. Dianne Porter, Chair of the PEI Coalition for Women in Government notes, "The Coalition remains committed to working with all parties to increase the number of women being nominated."
Women are more strongly represented in the two parties that each received more than 10% of the popular vote but only resulted in one seat between them. "Based on the election results, it is clear that proportional representation is part of the solution to increase more diversity in elected representation, including women" says Wilson.
Looking forward the Liberal government will have four excellent women among the candidates for cabinet. Having a diversity of voices in cabinet, including women will help advise government policy and programs. "Increased diversity in decision making is a major component of equality and we encourage the premier to aim for a cabinet with one-third women" notes Wilson.
Monday’s election resulted in incumbent MLA Valerie Docherty losing her seat in district 17. "The PEI Coalition for Women in Government thanks Valerie Docherty for her eight years of service as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. Her special dedication to the portfolio as Minister Responsible for the Status of Women was appreciated by many. We wish Valerie well in her future endeavors" noted Porter.
Wilson concluded "The Coalition thanks all women candidates for putting their names on the ballot. We will work to support all parties to continue making strides to increase their number of women candidates in future elections."
- 30 -