Climbing Parliament’s Hill: Examining the Lack of Gender Parity Within Canadian Parliament
CitationRakhra, Avninder. 2018. Climbing Parliament’s Hill: Examining the Lack of Gender Parity Within Canadian Parliament. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractThe goal of this thesis is to examine the question: why the current 42nd Parliament of Canada fails to achieve gender parity within the House of Commons? Additionally, it assists in comprehending why Canada’s Parliament does not have a substantial number of female Members of Parliament (MPs). The paper also looks at the low number of women candidates in the 2015 election in comparison to the number of male candidates. I also study the contributing factors hindering the progress of parity. My initial hypothesis is that the lack of gender parity in the House of Commons is due to the political process, which includes the role of political parties, the electoral system, the lifestyle of MPs and the role of the media. I also hypothesize that it is due to incumbency and the lack of priority given to achieving gender parity. Thus, with a lack of priority and more male candidates, achieving gender parity is more difficult. This also includes the lack of willingness on the part of certain leaders and parities.
While certain scholars have studied components of gender parity, I believe there is a gap in the literature. Furthermore, the vast majority of scholarship tends to focus on one specific component of gender parity and not the various components together. The literature also does not delve deep enough into the issue and for this reason I hope to add to the existing literature. Subsequently, this may further assist in helping close the gap.
Within the thesis, I employ various research methods. One of the research methods is the use of both primary sources and secondary academic studies. This includes both Canadian and non-Canadian sources which are then applied to my arguments. Another method is the conducting of interviews with current and former MPs. I also look at newspaper articles, government databases and websites, bills presented by MPs and public speeches/statements.
After conducting my research, I find a number of factors contributing to the lack of gender parity in Parliament. I also examine the various regional patterns of female candidacy within in Canada, prior to presenting my findings. I find that one of the factors contributing to the lack of gender parity is due to the role and responsibility of political parties and leaders. Another factor is the electoral system. Other factors include the role of the media and the profession itself. I also examine a number of potential solutions that can assist in achieving gender parity, although I do not endorse any one particular remedy. These include quotas, electoral reform, the appointment and promotion of women within parties, making Parliament more “women friendly” or “family friendly”, role models and mentoring, financial penalties and incentives, and running women in more “winnable ridings”. In conclusion, after researching and examining these factors, my findings reveal that my initial hypothesize was only partly correct and did not go far enough. Furthermore, my initial hypothesis did not include potential solutions for gender inequality. On a personal level, I find the role of political parties and leaders the most convincing.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42004054
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