It would be good to see P.E.I. ranked at number one when it comes to the number of women in provincial legislatures, says the leader of the Island Conservatives.
According to recent research conducted by the P.E.I. Coalition for Women in Government, P.E.I. ranks in fifth among provinces and territories. There are seven women MLAs in P.E.I. Legislature.
Morell-Mermaid MLA Olive Crane said the Island needs more female representation in legislature and the best way to do it is through the political parties.
“We have been focusing too much in just trying to get women interested in politics. “We should be trying to attract more women through the political parties, so they can find a party which supports their political views.”
Another way women could be attracted to politics is to appeal to women through issues they care about, she said. She used child care as an example.
“There really isn’t a financial plan for child care right now. Getting more women involved would be a great way to get different perspectives on the issue.”
Crane said every time she gives a speech to a local school or event, she attempts to get more women interested in politics.
“I explain the opportunities for worthwhile careers in government as well as what they can do to make a positive change in the community. There are a lot of positive rewards when you work with people.”
As the leader of the opposition, Crane said she serves as a role model for what women are capable of when getting into politics.
“It is my job to make sure the government is held accountable when it is not doing what is best for Islanders. To make the governement work for the people of Prince Edward Island and not the other way around.
It is also my duty to make sure the members of my own party are up to par and are making the right decisions for Islanders.”
Straford-Kinlock, Liberal MLA, Cynthia Dunsford said there many attempts to try and get women interested in politics.
“Their have been a number of campaign schools, which have been mentoring younger women who want to get into politics. These schools offer the education and encouragement needed to preapre them for a career in politics.”
Even with programs such as these, there are still some obstacles which prevent some women from getting into politics, she said.
“There are a lot of women who serve as caregivers. Whether they are younger women raising children, or older women who are taking care of older relatives, taking care of others is a dominating task. There isn’t any type of initiative to help these women get into politics.
A daycare facility for the children of women with government jobs would be a great way to help solve this problem.”
Dunsford said this is an important factor because all of the women in legislature either have no children or have older children.
“This is not an accident.”
The Liberal Party is trying to get more women involved in politics by trying to increase the number of women who seek nominations, she said.
“The party aims for an at least 33 per cent mark when it comes to the number of women coming out for nominations. During the last provincial election one-third of those who put their name in were women.”
The best way for women to get involved in politics is to join a political party, even if it is still an uphill battle, she said
“There are some women who feel they can not be aggressive enough to enter politics. This is a problem as any job in politics you can not show up without your boxing gloves on.
“It is not a gentle process where people use gentle words. The main goal should be to encourage women to develop there assertativeness and become leaders in their community.”
Crane said she would like to start a new program to help draw more women into politics some time in the new year.
“I would like to get women of Legislature together and form a speakers bureau to encourage other women to get involved in politics and in the community as a whole.”