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.
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