In 2015, Canada elected a record 88 women. This article breaks that total down, looking at how many women were elected from each province/territory and each political party.
Although 2015 may have seen the highest number of female MPs ever elected in Canada (surpassing the previous high-water mark of 77 set in 2011 by more than 15) that’s still a long way off where it should be if you look at the number of women in the general population of Canada.
To put things into a little bit of context, although Canada has roughly the same proportion of female MPs as the average European country, and slightly more than in the USA, it still only ranks 50th in the world. In Rwanda, for example, 64% of all MPs are women.
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Female MPs by Province and Territory
Breaking down the percentage of female MPs elected by each Canadian Province or Territory shows some wide differences between different parts of the country. The map of Canada above gives a quick overview, and the table below gives more detailed statistics.
Newfoundland and Labrador comes closest to matching the general population. Of the seven MPs elected in Canada’s far east, four were men and three were women. At the other end of the scale Prince Edward Island and Canada’s three territories, elected seven men to fill their seven seats in Parliament.
These are all relatively small provinces and territories, though and Canada’s larger provinces don’t quite hit the same extremes. Even so, Ontario (32%) still has more than twice as many female MPs as Alberta (15%).
|Rank||Province/Territory||% Female MPs||Total MPs||Female MPs||Male MPs|
|1||Newfoundland & Labrador||42.9%||7||3||4|
|10=||Prince Edward Island||0.0%||4||0||4|
Female MPs in Canada by Party
When it comes to major political parties, the Green Party technically has the highest proportion of female MPs in Canada’s 42nd Parliament – but with just the one MP, that could be a statistical outlier.
Among major parties, the New Democrats lead the way in Parliament – 40.9% of their MPs (18 of 44 MPs) are women and 42.8% of their candidates were women. They’re followed by Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party, with 27.1%, Bloc Quebecois with 20% and the Conservatives with 17.1%.
Another way to look at it is to consider the proportion of female candidates that each party put forward. There the picture is similar, but it’s interesting to see that each party (except the Green Party) selected a higher proportion of female candidates than were eventually elected MPs.
Although the New Democrats top this table (43%), Canada’s two major parties don’t excel. Although the Liberals hover around the average (27% of their candidates were women) just 17% of Conservative candidates were women.
Sources and Further Reading
This article was compiled using the Parliament of Canada website’s register of members. They also have comprehensive data on women who have stood for or been elected to the Canadian Senate and House since 1867.
Shortly after the election, CBC published a detailed analysis ‘50% population, 25% representation, Why the Parliamentary gender gap?’
The National Library of Canada has more detail on the history of women in Canadian legislatures, including biographies of the first female MP in Canada (Agnes Macphail), the first female Canadian Senator (Cairine Wilson), the first female Prime Minister (Kim Campbell) and the first woman elected in each of Canada’s Provincial Legislatures.
Equal Voice is an organisation dedicated to electing more women in Canada – not just in Parliament but in provincial and local elections as well.