Today's editorial in the Vancouver Sun features two noteworthy articles focusing on the gender gap in politics. Both Barbara Yaffe and Virginia Greene reminded me of an interview with Rosemary Speirs of Equal Voice, which I recently transcribed (and will be featured in our upcoming issue!). To get women into politics requires a flexbility from not only women who choose to become involved, but also from the realm of politics itself. Whether or not women have to be flexible is the question.
Greene recognizes that though the gender gap in the general Canadian workforce is closing, politics are still male-dominated and not a career choice for women, largely due to the barriers and 'differences' women face (for example, their role as primary caregivers versus long hours commuting to and from Ottawa). This is not to say, as Greene puts it, that women have to 'act' or adopt male qualities to succeed politically, but that
any future debate about how to increase the participation of women in politics must go beyond quota-setting and talk about the things that really keep women from moving in greater numbers in this direction.Yaffe further notes that in a time when a woman is a leading contender for the US presidency and more and more women are voters, getting women into politics is still a "battle." Besides changing our societal attitudes towards and acceptance of female politicians, more formal initiatives are needed on behalf of government to ensure an equality of gender representation in the political arena.
Equal Voice argues, quite reasonably,
that it's healthy for young females to have political role models. More equality on legislative benches also translates into more representative government.