Friday, April 26, 2013

Gender shift in Canadian politics

Down through history, there have been women who have run tribes and countries.

Boudica, Cleopatra, Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, and Julia Gillard are among the best known today.

While still under-represented in the ranks of MP's and MPP's, women are now governing many of Canada's provinces and territories. Premiers Eva Aariak in Nunavut, Kathy Dunderdale in Newfoundland and Labrador, Christy Clark in BC, Alison Redford in Alberta, Pauline Marois in Quebec, and Kathleen Wynne in Ontario are current incumbents.

In the past, Northwest Territories, PEI, and the Yukon have also chosen female leaders.

As this got rolling with BC's Rita Johnston in 1991, we can hardly claim that it just burst upon the scene, but there has been little fanfare. Imagine the media hoopla if half the state Governors in the U.S. were women.

Maybe that's a good thing, indicating that Canadians don't see it as a big deal, but just something that is long overdue.

Does the shift to women in the top jobs mean politics will change?

Some think that estrogen brings with it more integrity, more morality, and less ego-driven conflict than does testosterone. Maybe better interpersonal skills, too.

We'll see.

One thing we won't likely see is lack of toughness. Think Margaret Thatcher dropkicking Argentina out of the Falkland Islands, and giving unsolicited advice to Ronald Reagan, or Angela Merkel laying down the law for the distressed countries of southern Europe, or the original "iron lady," Golda Meir.

Amazingly, I'm not hearing much resistance to this, even from the old white men who usually grouse about any change.

Stay tuned.


  1. My favourite assessment of Margaret Thatcher is by Francois Mitterand, then-President of France: "She has the smile of Marilyn Monroe and the eyes of Joseph Stalin."

  2. Yes, we'll see. It certainly can't hurt, can it? Men have been given the reins many times and have demonstrated quite well that they can screw up the world. Lets give the ladies a try :) Personally, I like change. Sometimes that's exactly what's needed to move forward.

  3. Read an interesting article a while back about how parties tend to chose women as leaders when the ship is already half way to the bottom of the lake. Kim Campbell being the prime example. Personally I think Kathleen Wynne is a good leader, however I don't think anyone in their right mind will vote for the Liberals in the next provincial election. Anyway, I'll believe things have changed if they are all still in place as party leaders after their next elections

    1. That's interesting about parties in trouble picking women leaders. Could be interpreted a bunch of ways, I guess. Nonetheless people voted in all of the current incumbents, except for Wynne, so maybe women are pulling these parties out of their dives to the bottom.