October 21 is the Federal Election with advanced polls starting October 11. For all the information on where and how to vote please visit Elections Canada.
Leadership and civic engagement are major elements of the work we do at WAVE. Women haven’t always had the right to vote. In fact, most Canadian women didn’t have the right to vote across the country until 1921, and even then, many women were excluded. Asian women (Chinese, Japanese, and East Asian) weren’t granted the right to vote until the late 1940s and Indigenous women were excluded from voting until 1960.
Women are still underrepresented in elected roles. Research shows that when women run, they get elected at about the same rate as men, but unfortunately, there typically isn’t parity in the number of women running for public office. Parity x Party shows a breakdown of gender representation for the federal election, as well as the history of representation in Canada, and details barriers to gender equity.
So what can we do about it?
- Vote! Election day is October 21st, but advance polls open today (October 11)! You should have received a voter card in the mail. If you haven’t received one you can register in advance online here, or bring ID with a proof of address to your polling station and register to vote onsite.
- Bring your kids, friends kids, nieces, nephews, grandchildren! Teaching children and youth the importance of voting at a young age encourages life-long engagement. And when WAVE is out presenting to young people we hear that they enjoy the experience!
- Talk to other people. We think it’s time to be able to be open and honest about what matters politically to us and our communities and country. Talk to your friends, neighbours, and family about what matters to them.
- Volunteer for a candidate or party.
- Work the election.
- Encourage women who are running. Women face a disproportionate amount of online harassment. Our friends at ParityYEG have developed a bot that sends a positive tweet to women candidates after they receive negative tweets. You can suggest tweets to them or use your account to drown out misogynistic and hateful comments: check out Parity Bot on Twitter or visit here to submit a tweet.
- Ask informed questions about issues that matter to you. WAVE has developed a list of potential questions that highlight issues that affect women and families. Ask your candidates these questions yourself or come up with some of your own and share them with us.
Some potential questions are:
- What do you feel are the key issues facing women in Canada?
- How do you plan to address them if you are elected?
- What do you think are the most pressing women’s rights and gender equality issues in our city and country and how will you address them?
- Edmonton has one of the highest levels of violence against women in Canada. What other initiatives do you feel the federal government should take on to increase the safety of women?
- How will you address women’s income and employment inequality generally, as well as how income inequality is more pronounced for women from racialized communities?
- How will you ensure the diverse needs of all women (regardless of age, ability, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.) are being addressed? Will an intersectional lens guide your work? If yes, how? If no, what approach will guide how you serve Edmontonians and Canadians?
- If elected, will your government support making quality child care accessible and affordable for all families, especially lower income families?
- How will you support parents to rejoin the workforce if they chose to?
- What will your government do to support and encourage women to go into male-dominated fields (e.g. STEM)?
- What would equitable leadership look like for your party if elected?
- Since there isn’t gender equity among many of the parties, what will you do to ensure your government is doing to hear and listen to women’s voices and what will you do to improve the imbalance in the future?
Interested in learning more? Here are some helpful links:
- Vote Compass.
- Are you undecided? Watch this live debate with the Federal leaders being asked questions by other undecided voters The National Presents Face to Face.
- Former WAVE member Tanya Edison wrote about her journey in becoming informed during the 2019 Provincial election.
- Read this article by CTV for more information about the demographic breakdown of Edmonton’s 2019 candidates.