Women in Politics in Canada
Published 06 Jul 2017
Chapter one or the introduction talks about the slid of Canada’s reputation as the best place to live as cited by the united nations for the past several years. But it lost this distinction since 2001 as well as its status in social development involving women. Trimble and Arscott cited three reasons for this decline. First, Scandinavian countries outpaced Canada in its quality of life for women. Second, high rates of child poverty and short life expectancy for aboriginal people are observed; and third, public health care system that no longer ensures the continued well-being of the population.
The authors went to focus on the effect of these social concerns on women stating that woman’s generally poorer health, lower social status, financially dependency and lower earnings poses more difficulties to them. Trimble and Arscott saw politics as the means to bring change and to improve the status of women in society. Feminist adherents noted that there is a wide imbalance in the position occupied by men both in government positions and in political exercise. Trimble and Arscott also noted how male politicians treat their women counterpart whom they call “infantalized” treatment which is demeaning and sexist. I believe the author’s has clearly emphasized feminist strong points about male traditional superiority concept and sex based discrimination looms in the political and social arena. In my view, Trimble’s discussion here is a great effort towards women’s quest both in politics and in governance. She has made her points clear and in a manner revealing the sexual discrimination plaguing the Canadian political system. She noted the representation as a “flaw in democratic and political exercise which undermines women’s rights and talents. Politics in Canadian society remains a “guy Thing.”
History Matters: Women’s Multi Faceted Involvement in Politics
Chapter two marks the progress of women’s roles in realms of politics and government affairs. Trimble and Arscott noted that in fifty years period from 1916-66 only eight women were elected to the house of commons and forty six to provincial and territorial legislature. As they researched on women’s service to the body politics they found out that this remains fragmented, divided between historical, federal, and provincial/territorial jurisdiction. They cited that in RCSW report it was in the 1970 period that progress in getting women elected has occurred. But despite of advances Trimble and Arscott argued that these advances represent insufficient progress towards fair representation for all women. I think that Trimble’s views in this regard are quite unjustifiable or probably influenced by feminist quest for gender equality with men. It is truly an inherent right of women to be equal with men on many grounds but in matters of equal representation in governance and politics, but in most cases the decision lies not on politicians but on the citizenry which we all belong.
Generally, Arscott and Trimble’s view on women’s role in Canadian society are well balanced and fair as they merely expound the true meaning of justice, fairness, and equality.
The Electoral Glass Ceiling
Chapter Three examines how far these women politician have gone in terms of their number. Arscott and Trimble noted in page 42 that due to limited number of women in the house of common, there was not even a wash room for women in the lobby or in the chamber. I would like to agree with the authors of this book as they express their disappointment over the seemingly obvious sexual discrimination of the Canadian political system. They were so disappointed that even in the House of Commons and in every spheres of Canadian politics and governance women are not counted. The Authors believed that the reason for Canada’s failure to maintain its number one spot as the best country to live is the unequal position of men and women in the society and in representing the government, as well as in the political system. They noted that because of this many functions that women could have done perfectly, would be just be wasted opportunity.
Thus, compared to other countries in the region, Canada still fell behind. The percentage of “elected women in Canada continue to fall short of Fifty percent. Besides, at present the number of women candidate is dropping as political aspirant find it difficult to go against their mail counterpart as even the early leaders were not anticipating women to be involve in politics. Arscott and Trimble identified that this difficulty was Glass Ceiling. But the reason for this decline according to them is the lack of vision and optimism about further advances in the short term.
In my opinion, the view of the authors on women role is not strong enough to justify this decline although it may have contributed substantially. After all, elective officials are judge by the people based on their performances regardless of gender or ethnicity. What is necessary is visible and tangible accomplishment that positively affects the sector they are representing.
- Arscott, Jane. Still Counting: Women in Politics Across Canada. Canada: Broadview Press, 2003.