Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tapping on the Glass Ceiling

Manitoba is #1 in something... and for once it's a good thing. The results of Tuesday's election have placed the province at the top of the nation in terms of the proportion of women elected to the legislature. Women now comprise 18 of 57 MLAs (31.5%, 13 NDs, 5 Tories). Second place: PEI @ 25.9%.

What is more, if you've met any of these women, you know they're not 'token' members. They haven't been handed their nominations (unlike many Federal Liberals), and they did not win in "safe seats". Almost all of them have survived tight races in the past few elections. And both major parties have a strong female contingent.

There won't be enough room in Cabinet for complete gender parity... Despite their unquestioned talent, too many of the women represent the same region, South Winnipeg; regional balance will take precedence when Doer chooses his new Executive Council.

Don't pop the champagne quite yet. There's still a lot of work to do to achieve a 50/50 split in the legislature. But at least we're finally tapping on the glass ceiling.


Anonymous said...

What the heck is a red Tory and why would we seek parity?
Seems to me to achieve parity we would need equal amounts of men and women both qualified and interested in politics, this is not the case so parity would be counter productive to the system.
Look at what Quota hiring has done to Canada's productivity.
To be Red or Progressive is to me to be blind to consequences and to put the cart before the horse.

DeepRedTory said...

To answer the first question, "what is a red tory", check out the right panel on my blog, and my first-ever post.

To address the issue of "quotas" -- I never said that parity should be achieved artificially or through affirmative action. I'm just as opposed to that as you are.

What's happening in Manitoba is precisely what you're advocating -- people are being nominated and elected based on their merits, not on their personal qualities. That close to 1/3 of MLAs are now women is not because Doer or McFadyen mandated it (like Dion is doing federally). It may be because of positive role-modelling, or family-friendly house rules, but not because of affirmative action.

It's because more and more qualified women are choosing to run for office, and more and more party members are looking past gender to select the best people for the job.

To be honest, knee-jerk reactions like yours appear to be declining in Manitoba. Not all men in the Ledge are "qualified" -- in fact, I'd wager to say that there are a greater proportion of women than men in that category.

No one is saying that a woman should receive a nomination, a seat, or a portfolio just because of what she's got between her legs.

The real injustice here: that there can't be gender parity in Cabinet (because of geographic concerns). More women than ever deserve to be ministers this time around (Oswald, McGifford, Selby, Irvin-Ross, Wowchuk, Brick, Allan, Melnick). Giving 8 of them portfolios in a 16-minister cabinet is only fair. I challenge anyone to name 10 men who deserve to be in cabinet more than them.

If advocating that our legislatures contain the most qualified people makes me "unconservative", so be it.