A record number of women were elected to the Manitoba legislature in Tuesday's election — a change some say could affect the government's priorities.
Of the new MLAs elected Tuesday night, five are women. That gives female MLAs a historic high of 18 seats — nearly a third of the legislature's 57-seat total and double the number in the 1988 election.
Thirteen women are now members of the NDP caucus, while five hold office under the Conservative banner.
"I believe the legislature should look more like the people that elect us, and we look a little more like Manitoba today than we did before," said Jennifer Howard, one of the new faces in the legislature and the NDP MLA for Fort Rouge.
Wow! I'm so excited. I think a lot of credit does have to go to the NDP party and their commitment to including women within their ranks. But even in this excitement... we do need to point out that women still only represent one third of the legislatures ranks. It's a little sad that in 2007 we're getting excited about the historic nature of finally having women represent a third of a legislature. But enough complaining! Here's another great quote:
"[It's] a step forward for women, and it's a step forward for all Manitobans, because women are half," re-elected Seine River MLA Theresa Oswald, a New Democrat, said Tuesday.
"We don't see that yet represented in our legislatures across Canada, but we're making a real stride here … in Manitoba and I'm grateful for that."
Howard said she looks forward to getting to work — and to seeing more women elected to the legislature in the future.
"Manitoba was the first province where women won the right to vote, so we have a proud history of women being involved in politics, and I only think it's going to get better."
Gary Doer's NDP was elected for a historic third majority with 36 seats, compared to 19 for the Progressive Conservatives and two for the Liberals.