Category: Comparison Essay

In Canadian politics, there is an obvious male domination and the lack of female representatives compared to other liberal democracies. Thus, the statement that men rule is not an exaggeration but the fact confirming gender inequality, subversion of womens rights, and gender gap in political ambitions. Such situation is favorable for males, but it has the negative effects on females health, work, education, and economic stability. The state of affairs has improved since the past, as women now can be legislators, candidates, and voters. However, their rights are still being regarded from the gender perspective with a common stereotype that females are weak and unable to succeed in certain fields, like politics. Consequently, women are underrepresented in Canadian politics due to the numerous barriers and obstacles to their successful activity in the House of Commons and as provincial legislators, and the absence of the necessary reforms only reinforces this problem.

Womens Place in the House of Commons and Provincial Legislatures

Gender representation is one of the main issues in Canadian politics which provokes many debates and conflicts. The female representation in the House of Commons has increased since the 1921 election, yet political parties cannot achieve gender parity when it comes to candidates. Moreover, the main challenge is not the absence of females in the government, but their invizibilization and instrumentalization as the ways of using them like instruments for gaining power, control, and influence. For example, it is possible to do the intensification of party competition in the House of Commons though paying greater attention to women and gender motivated by political and electoral gain. Such manipulation signifies the existing imbalance between the womens and the mens role in the House of Commons and provincial legislatures.

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Another reason that contributes to the lack of female activity in Canadian politics is the gender stereotypes that they are weak, responsible for child caring and household duties, and dependent on men. Such prejudice is reinforced by the attitude of Liberal and Conservative forces towards females and their place in the government. These political parties try to address their electoral campaigns aimed at women voters as a cohesive bloc. It is obvious that gender stereotypes make females the instruments for manipulation in the hands of male politicians. What is more, Thomas and Young (2014) insist that women in politics and electoral freedom are not the achievements of political forces but rather female activists insisting on womens participation in the democratic life of Canada. Canada ranked 47th internationally in a comparison of womens representation in national legislatures. Evidently, this position is not the best, but it shows that some improvements and contributions are done to involve females in Canadian politics.

It is necessary to mention that women are less interested in politics than men despite their participation in the workforce, public life, and education. In fact, survey findings report that females are even less knowledgeable about political forces and parties than males. Therefore, to some extent, women create the political gap themselves providing men with more power, influence, and control. The absence of interest in politics can be explained by the fact that men always remain the majority of political leaders and politicians, and this persuades women that the world of politics is not for them. Consequently, it is one of the factors why women are underrepresented in the government.

Another point worth consideration when discussing the above issue is that women have different political attitudes and priorities that can prevent them from effective collaboration and cooperation with men in the government. Hence, females mainly perform the supportive roles within political parties and work in election offices rather than manage campaigns. It is thus fair to say that women have the partial guilt that they are underrepresented in the government as they fail to demonstrate their leadership skills and show the political initiatives. Males assigned domestic and secretarial roles to females and made them serve and support the former in their political activity. Such operations like organizing meetings, staffing campaign offices, canvassing during elections, and sponsoring events prove that women are now used to their supportive role and underestimate their skills, knowledge, and forces in the sphere of politics.

Legislatures are not race or gender institutions; therefore, females tend to fail to occupy the leading political occupations and undergo biases there. According to Taylor-Robinson (2014), women are underrepresented in the government, but there are still some of them. However, the main challenge is that females from minority groups and from the lower social class are even more underrepresented. Thus, Canadian political system is far from perfection as lawmakers and legislators do not present the interests of all groups of people. Even more disturbing is the fact that the elite women who do participate in the political life of the country may not always support the interests of other women and serve to the needs of society. As the result, the problem of the Canadian government is not only the absence of females in it but also the inability of both male and female politicians to understand other females not involved in the discussed sphere.

Throughout history, women has always been underrepresented group to a certain extent and underwent bias, inequality, discrimination, and improper treatment not only in politics but in other areas. In the past, they had no possibility to participate in democracy, politics, and legal procedures. In fact, it was believed that men and women cannot work in one team and make decisions together as females decisions can lead to the consequences less desirable for the community like males. Such restrictions affected the current representation of females in the government and made Canadas governments unable to function in a democratic, fair, and just manner. Thomas (2013) believes that females belong to a heterogeneous group that has diverse political preferences and opinions. However, as the representation of diversity in politics is difficult or impossible, there not enough women there. There is a chance to achieve equality and harmony in politics if women are more active and presented proportionally in the government.

The Barriers to the Election of More Female MPs

The barriers to the election of more female MPs than females like voters, candidates, and members of parties are numerous, and they are even more significant as the number of places is limited. Womens unwillingness to participate in politics, the party system, political culture, and rules governing campaigns are restraining forces of the increase of female MPs. However, the reasons for the choice of female MPs remain the same: to soften controversial issues and appeal to women voters. For example, Rona Ambrose used women MPs in order to be more successful in the political campaign.

Even though the number of cases of women being selected as MPs is constantly growing, females in politics remain invisible because of the conservative government. Everitt (2016) insists that the structure of the political system is the barrier to womens representation in the government, as even if women are selected as party presidents and party leaders, their success is temporal. Thus, political parties are the obstacle to womens election since they are gatekeepers and prefer to choose men over women in electoral districts.

Electoral laws are among the leading barriers preventing the election of more female MPs as Canada uses a single membership plurality electoral system. In this regard, it is better to use the more proportional electoral system that will provide a greater number of women in elected office. Nonetheless, the changes in electoral laws will not guarantee the gender equality in Canadian Parliament. There is the relationship between electoral laws and the barriers to the election of females, but the probability of womens increase is very little (ONeill &Young, 2010). The improved electoral laws can actually facilitate the introduction of gender quotas for females representation. Furthermore, 64% of Canadians agree that representation of more females in the Parliament is the best way to protect their interests. Thus, gender quotas may find the fertile ground in the political culture of Canada. However, the main challenge on the way to these improvements is that the Canadian political system is rather difficult to change and redesign.

Party gatekeepers create a serious obstacle to the election of more female MPs as they support male candidates instead. The only reason why Liberals give place to women in their campaigns is to gain the communitys loyalty through gender-equity arguments. As for Conservatives, they are more realistic, but their promises regarding gender equality are similar to those of Liberals.  Marginal thoughts and statements of party gatekeepers are illusive and unreal, because they do not improve the situation at all. In the House of Commons, both male and female MPs act and speak to support womens issues, but their populism fails to help. Moreover, political culture is another barrier limiting females activity as MPs as it involves populism, marginalizing, and bureaucracy that are hostile to women and their active participation in the political life of Canada.

Party systems is also a restraining force of females representation in the political live of the country. In fact, parties have more influence on the community than individual female politicians, who do not provoke much trust and reliability. Cohesive party system and party discipline in legislative voting restrict the election female MPs. They can prevent women from having a strong impact on the legislative process in Canada and limit the cross-party cooperation of women on gender issues. However, Tremblay (1998) believes that the increase of the number of female MPs can change the situation in Canadian government. Female MPs are attached to these problems and can become the principle proponents of them. However, it is essential for them not only speak about womens