|Posted on August 2, 2009 at 11:08 AM|
I keep hearing politically active people, women included, say No to the suggestion of quotas for women candidates. Why are they considered so terrible?
Quotas are one of the key ways that most of the world's leading democracies -- and many smaller ones -- have so many more elected women than we have in Canada, the USA and the UK (Canada is ranked 48th in the world for percentage of elected women). From Sweden to Belgium, Germany and Spain and from Rwanda to South Africa and Peru, quotas for women candidates are used to great success.
Some say that women who get in because of quotas won't be respected. In 2005, the Labour Party in the UK had Women-Only Short Lists for candidates in some ridings. A few years later, no one remembered which MP's were from those quota ridings and which weren't -- there was no discrimination.
We Canadians use quotas all the time: geographical quotes. This ensures no one region dominates in government. But men still dominate politics for many reasons, so we need gender quotas until the barriers to women are gone.
1. party elites prefer to choose men candidates
2. the high cost of campaigning (women still earn only 70% as much as men)
3. politics is time-consuming and not family friendly, which puts off more women than men (as society still expects women to do the majority of housework, childcare and eldercare)
4. the aggressive nature of politics puts off more women than men
5. media sexism
For info on quotas for women: