11 September 2011

Political Gender Issues

Astonishing as it may seem to some, the supposedly progressive political party in Newfoundland and Labrador isn’t the one with the most women as candidates nominated thus far in the current election.


The Grits are tops with one in three.

The Dippers are in second place with one in five.

Both those parties have candidates in place in about half the total number of seats up for grabs in October.

The incumbent Tories have all their candidates in place and, at last count, they had something like one in eight who were women.  Six women among 48 candidates, and all of them incumbents who have been in office since at least 2003.

That’s rather curious development for a province where, not so long ago, people were marvelling at the fact that all three political party leaders in the province were women. 

Of course, no one seemed to notice that neither of them got their job as the result of an open competition, but that’s another subject for another day. Let’s just say women in politics is a touchy subject for some people.

For now, try pondering the fact that if the conventional wisdom holds, we’ll probably wind up with the same women – let alone the same number of them – back in the House after October as we have right now.

You’ve come a long way, baby.



- srbp -


Liam said...
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Liam said...

Maybe it is a subject for another day but did Michael not win 'an open competition'? And was the opportunity for an open competition not granted to Liberals by that party when Jones was acclaimed?

Also, why bring up the acclamations at all? Are you saying that Jones and Dunderdale would have lost if they had to face real competition, or that their present leadership would be more legitimate if they faced competitors and won?

Edward Hollett said...

I stand corrected, Liam. I went back and checked. Lorraine defeated Nina Patey 107 to 5 on the first ballot.

It was an open competition in the sense there was a candidate who ran against her. In the Liberal leadership, no one opposed Jones but the field was left open for anyone who wanted to have a go. It's much the same as Jim Bennett in that respect but I think the overall political dynamic in the province had something to do with it.

And in the Tory case, they cut a backroom deal and then went through contortions to reject a candidate and thereby avoid a contest.

What I was driving at was the absence of competition or competition of any consequence. I think there's something in that set of circumstances that is worth exploring a bit further.

It's an argument I've been working over since a friend of mine pointed it out. The argument is actually hers but I figured I'd toss it out - once it is fully formed - to see what kind of reaction it gets.

I think how the leaders got their jobs is very relevant to a discussion of women in politics, particularly at the elected end of things.

I think the leadership contests says something about how the parties themselves operate that has little or nothing to do with the sex of the contestants.

This is one of those posts that doesn't have a definitive conclusion or a formed point. It's about a subject and about some aspects of a subject I think are worth exploring. I laid the leader aspect out there but I do want to give it space on its own at some point in the future.

Mark said...

Just to be clear:

112 people decided who the NDP Leader would be in this election.

21 people decided who the Liberal Party would be in this election.

1 person decided who the PC Leader would be in this election.

Regardless of your party stripe, these stats say a lot about the sad state of (party) politics in our province.

Edward Hollett said...

Neither party really stands out in this exercise, at least not in a good way.