Where are all the women in politics?

Former South African deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

So here we go again, it is 2012, and Vancouver has only four women councillors, six men and another white male Mayor.

After 125 years, you would think it would be time for a change in Vancouver. But no, another city election and three more years of the same. Who is going to stand up to ensure equity at City Hall?

But wait, perhaps it is different in the rest of B.C. or in the rest of
Canada
. Perhaps it is only British Columbia which still lingers in its
pioneer past and where women are still expected to only run the kitchens.

Sigh, no -- just checked: in the Greater Vancouver Regional District, women make up just 34 per cent of councillors and 28 per cent of mayors. In Canada, that number drops to 25 percent of councillors and 16 per cent of mayors.

At least, you think, we are a wealthy nation so we must be better than other countries and with time the situation will slowly improve here. No.

The United Nations gender gap index has shown Canada dropping from 14th in 2006 to 25th in 2009. The World Bank has just released a first with their report “World Development Report on Gender”.

In a great read, Shahra Razavi, in her critique on the UN website “News and Views", says that the “going against the “growth is good for gender equality’- type of argument put forward by World Bank economists in the past …[is invalid , and the report] acknowledges that gender equality will not occur automatically as countries get richer”.

So is there anything happening in cities in the rest of the world ?
Based in Montreal, the Metropolis Women International Network links city organizations and shares policies and programmes.

In India, the Nationalist Congress Party, which has local representation, has called for a “Women Friendly Cities” poll in the  Feb.16, 2012 elections in response to a call from a number of nonprofit women’s organizations.

More in Women Changing Cities

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Elderly women aren't a "drain" on society, but can add immense value to the community --if Vancouver changes to become more livable for them, said participants at the Women Changing Cities discussion.

Time for Canada to declare International Women's Day official holiday

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