Despite the growing gender balance in provincial premiers, elected politics remains the domain of men. According to the 2012 Global Gender Gap Report, Canadian women’s position in politics is 20% of men’s.

How is this possible, given that Canada not only has no formal, legal restrictions on women’s political representation and participation, but that discrimination based on gender is prohibited under sections 15 and 28 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

The speaker contends that women’s reduced political position in Canada is a result of 1) a lack of demand for women candidates from Canada’s political parties; 2) the reaction of some (male) voters to women candidates; and 3) stereotypes about women’s political engagement. All three go some to way explaining why women in Canada are so perniciously underrepresented in federal politics.

Speaker: Melanee Thomas

Melanee Thomas is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Calgary. Her research focuses on the causes and consequences of gender-based political inequality in Canada and other post-industrial democracies. She has published research in journals such as Politics & Gender, Electoral Studies, and the Canadian Journal of Political Science.

Dr. Thomas is well known to Lethbridge residents. As well as doing her first degree at the University of Lethbridge and serving as Students’ Union President, Dr. Thomas twice ran in the Lethbridge federal riding for the NDP.

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