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  • Electoral politics doesn't matter anymore -- why should we care about how many women are in office?
    Governments make decisions every day about how to spend the billions of dollars we collectively pay in taxes. That’s a huge amount of power and it absolutely matters who wields it. We all have a stake in ensuring that the people making decisions on our behalf bring diverse perspectives and life experiences to decision-making and reflect the realities of all residents.
  • If women want to be politicians, they would just run -- why should equal representation in Parliament and legislatures be forced?
    Many women do want to run for office, but financial and logistical barriers are too high for too many. Meanwhile, people living in Canada have always accepted that representation is essential to democracy. That’s why with 22% of the country's population, Quebec gets 22% of the seats in Parliament. But we cannot be defined by geography alone. It’s fundamentally unfair that women make up 50% of the population but hold less than a third of the seats in Parliament. Recognizing that elected bodies should reflect the makeup of populations as much as geography, many countries have implemented electoral reform and mandatory quotas to ensure women hold a balance of power - also known as gender parity.
  • What does parity mean, exactly?
    Parity means the state or condition of being equal. It's been nearly 100 years since women in Canada were deemed equal to men under the law. Our elected governments need to reflect that.
  • Aren't quotas outdated and unfair -- how would it work?
    Requiring political parties to field equal numbers of men and women delivers outcomes widely understood to be more fair. Residents of countries with elected bodies that more effectively reflect their demographics report higher levels of trust and confidence in their governments.
  • Is there another way?
    Proportional representation (PR) is an electoral system that ensures the number of seats a party gets is in direct proportion to the number of votes it got. The first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system which Canada has always used often allows governments to hold a majority of seats without actually getting a majority of votes. Proportional representation is an inherently more fair and more representative electoral system. That’s why New Zealand switched from FPTP to PR; it now ranks fourth in the world for women's representation.
  • Shouldn't it be about qualifications and experience, not people's gender?
    Residents deserve the best qualified representatives in elected office. But by default, candidates tend to come from one sector of the population: men. Research shows that by not benefiting from expertise across all demographics, we don't get the best qualified representatives. In Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, studies find that when political parties are required to recruit as many women as men, the quality of candidates and of people elected improves. As many women as men have the education, experience, work ethic, and integrity to contribute to politics. And when parties are required to recruit women to run, it's not the standout men they beat, it's “mediocre” ones, say Swedish researchers.
  • I am more concerned about diversity in our elected bodies -- 2SLGBTQIA+, BIPOC, people with disabilities, etc. -- isn't representation of all marginalized groups more important than women's representation?
    Residents deserve the best qualified representatives in elected office. Countries that have implemented proportional representation and gender quotas have subsequently been able to expand the criteria used to include representation of other identities. Given the rich diversity of Canada’s population, we can learn from and build upon proven approaches to ensure equitable, diverse representation in our elected governments.
  • Why does this matter now? What's the urgency?
    Canada currently lags behind 60 other countries on this issue! This has an impact on our ability to develop and implement smart, experience-informed policies that advance our national interests while reflecting our diversity. Depending on which party wins a majority government (because some are much better at recruiting and supporting diverse candidates than others), we could fall even lower than 61st if we don't fix this urgently. We have until spring 2025 at most to persuade our leaders and parties to do the right thing.
  • Achieving equality and diversity in politics requires electoral reform -- why aren't you advocating for that?
    We believe electoral reform is critical to making Canada more democratic. See question 5 above.
  • I don’t trust politicians; so many are in it for themselves.
    When elected officials look more like the population they serve, public trust in politics increases. So reforming our electoral system and requiring quotas to ensure more diverse representation in elected bodies will help improve trust in politicians and faith in governments.
  • The system is stacked against individuals who are not already connected. What difference can I/we possibly make?
    Changes we’re advocating will help create an electoral system that is much more accessible to people who don't have political connections. As proven in other countries, electoral reform and quotas help to challenge “old boys’ club” defaults by forcing parties to recruit and support candidates with diverse experiences and perspectives.
  • Won’t quotas make it harder for would-be candidates to contest the nomination at the riding level where local party members can choose their own candidate?
    Quotas would not prevent local party members from choosing their own candidate. But parties would designate that it must be a woman who runs in certain ridings, meaning only women would seek that nomination. Parties can choose for themselves how to distribute those ridings in a viable way, ensuring, for instance, that designated women-only contests are rotated across ridings at each election.
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