systemic barriers to women's participation in local government

We are in the second stage of our Status of Women Project “action on systemic barriers to women’s participation in local government” with our partner CRIAW. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and Status of Women Canada, with partners Equal Voice and the Canadian Women Foundation, announced the launch of their latest partnership addressing gender parity at the elected office municipal level 'Towards Parity Project'. Their project is similar to the WTC project and they will be working with provincial municipal coalitions.  WTC will be participating in a teleconference with BC women councillors and women’s groups to provide input into their project.

The project titled “Action on systemic barriers to women’s participation in local government”, funded by Status of Women Canada. Women Transforming Cities, in partnership with the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW). We will be working with the City of Vancouver in finding sustainable and effective ways to improve gender and diversity equity and inclusion within local governments. 

 

 

The goals of the project are two-fold:

 

 

To work with municipalities and citizens to identify and institute on-going and permanent solutions to address barriers to the participation of diverse women in local government as elected decision-makers, as staff, and as committee members; and

 

To enhance the understanding and awareness of the importance of using a “gender-based intersectional lens” to guide policies and actions, and to increase the use of such a lens throughout municipal departments and functions.

 

 

Pathways to a Women-friendly Surrey Event

Surrey has had two women mayors, and currently has an equal number of men and women on council. What factors encourage women to run for office? How can more women who reflect Surrey’s rich diversity be supported to seek and hold office?

These and other questions were explored at a forum entitled “Pathways to a Women- friendly Surrey” on April 28 at the SFU Surrey Centre campus. Women who have run for and held office in Surrey discussed what helped them, and what barriers they faced. Keynote speaker was former city councilor Barinder Rasode, the first Indo-Canadian woman to serve as a Surrey city councilor. She went on to run for mayor in 2014. The discussion panel featured women who campaigned to be school board trustees and councilors in Surrey, and included Penny Priddy, the only woman in Canadian history to be elected to school board, city council, a provincial legislature, and the House of Commons.

The forum was co-sponsored by SFU’s department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies along with Women Transforming Cities, and the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, with support from Status of Women Canada. Members of Surrey Youth for a Change also volunteered and live-tweeted during the forum.

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