Women in Local Government
The United Nations defines 30 per cent as the minimal percentage of women required for government to reflect women´s concerns.
Women represent 16 per cent of mayors and 26 per cent of councilors in Canada, for an average of 24 per cent. In absolute terms, of 24,113 elected officials, 5,826 are women.
Based on current statistics, Canada would need 1,408 more women in elected office today to reach the 30 per cent target. That means increasing the number of women in municipal government by roughly 100 every year for the next 14 years.
FCM wants to help close this gender gap.
Since 2005, FCM´s Standing Committee on Increasing Women's Participation in Municipal Government has undertaken a number of initiatives, activities and programs to encourage women who are considering running for municipal office. The newest element of this campaign is the Head Start for Young women program. Through this program women municipal politicians and groups of young women come together to identify and address the barriers to young women's participation in local government.
Why should women enter municipal politics? With women at the table, their issues are more likely to be included in all political discussions. Women also take a different approach to the process and to policy content.
To support this effort, FCM has developed a set of strategies and tactics that municipal councils can use to further the involvement of women in municipal government. These are based on discussions from a series of workshops and events held across the country in 2005-2006.