Head of the class

Head of the class


On a mission
Can Women for 50% make New Brunswick provincial politics more female friendly?

If some leaders in New Brunswick get their way, the provincial legislature will have a vastly different gender makeup in 2018.

Women for 50% was launched this past January. As its name suggests, the group’s goal is to have women make up 50 per cent of the candidates in the 2018 provincial election and move towards female parity in its legislature. It has its work cut out for it. Women currently make up just 16 per cent of the MLAs in the New Brunswick legislature. That’s the second lowest percentage among provinces in Canada. Only P.E.I., where women comprise roughly 15 per cent of the provincial legislature, trails New Brunswick.

Robyn Tingley, one of the group’s founding members and president of GlassSKY Inc. in Saint John, says it’s important more women in New Brunswick run for political office and win. “Studies show diversity makes us work harder and think more creatively. With a more diverse legislature, it can’t help but produce better outcomes. We’re missing very important perspectives,” she says.

Tingley says Women for 50% has received positive responses to its cause from all the party leaders and other interested sectors. She hopes the awareness the group creates will convince more women to run.

If the group can make progress on gender equity in the New Brunswick legislature, Tingley thinks it could seep into other areas, like the business world where women are often paid less than men for similar work and don’t occupy as many leadership roles. “Any time you have women occupying leadership roles in traditionally male-dominated spheres, it can provide other women the idea that they can do that, too,” she says.

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