Women not stepping up to the political plate - Metro US

Women not stepping up to the political plate

Calgary has one of the lowest rates of female city council representation of major cities across the country, a trend many would like to see changed.

With three current female aldermen on city council, and one of them — Diane Colley-Urquhart — rumoured to be gunning for the mayoral position, Calgary’s women politicians make up 21 per cent of the 14 aldermanic positions. In the 2007 election, only 10 out of 42 candidates were female.

It’s a concern for Ward 7’s Druh Farrell.

“Calgary has a rich history of women in politics, but over the last decade it has been going down and I don’t know why but I think we need to examine the trend,” Farrell said.

“We have a council of primarily older, white males and I think our council should better reflect the diversity of Calgary with not just gender but ethnic background.”

Mount Royal University political scientist Keith Brownsey agreed — noting a couple of reasons behind Calgary’s old boys club.

“Demographically, Calgary has a younger population and younger women are more focused on their careers and kids at home than politics,” he said.

“But also, women tend to generally have less income to reach for and it’s really expensive to run for office.”

Calgary’s Jane Morgan, who declared yesterday in Ward 4 and is the only female candidate besides incumbents, said she thinks the winning candidate should be the best for the job — regardless of gender.

“It definitely takes a tough skin for this job but that’s whether you’re a female or male; some males can’t handle politics and that’s why they don’t get into it.”

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