FCM's Standing Committee on Increasing Women's Participation in Municipal Government has a mandate to encourage and support women interested in running for municipal office. Although women make up 52 per cent of the Canadian population, they currently make up only 21 per cent of municipal councils. Of the 152 communities FCM surveyed in 2004, 86 per cent said they did not have an equal number of men and women on council, and 14 per cent reported they had no women on municipal council.
The United Nations defines 30 per cent female representation as the minimum requirement for policy to reflect women's concerns. To reach 30 per cent, the standing committee is building a national network of regional champions. These champions include members of our committee and others nominated to work within their individual communities to encourage, support and mentor women interested in entering local politics.
The role of the regional champion is two-fold: to recruit a local team of volunteers from the champion's community; and to recruit champions in other communities who will then develop a local team of volunteers of their own. Champions set up campaign schools, organize public meetings, recruit potential candidates to run in municipal elections and use the news media to promote women´s participation in municipal government.
FCM staff has developed supporting materials, including a How To manual to help regional champions recruit others and communicate among themselves and with external audiences - including the news and media.
Would you like to join a regional champion program? View a list of existing programs.