Você está na página 1de 14

Slow progress:

Womens representation in municipal political office

Report on the 2007, 2010, and 2013 municipal elections Prepared for St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse January 2014 Angelia Wagner

PhD candidate in political science at the University of Alberta

2 Womens representation in municipal political office

The project
Activists and scholars alike have been concerned for decades about the lack of gender parity in Canadas federal, provincial, and municipal legislative bodies. In recent years, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Equal Voice, and the Alberta Urban Municipalities Associations Women in Municipal Government committee have been active in encouraging more women to run at the municipal level. To compliment his own efforts in this area, St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse commissioned a report on the current state of womens representation on Alberta municipal councils. The analysis presented here is based on a series of documents posted online by Alberta Municipal Affairs and downloaded by the author at the time of the 2007, 2010, and 2013 civic elections. The report goes beyond a simple accounting of how many women have run and won office in the three most recent elections to offer a deeper analysis that looks at their candidacy in different types of municipalities and for different types of municipal jobs. The goal is to provide a longitudinal analysis of the progress of women in Alberta municipal politics. Angelia Wagner is a PhD candidate in the University of Albertas department of political science. She is currently writing her dissertation on the political communication strategies of women and men municipal candidates in Canada.

Table of contents
1. Rates of candidacy .................................................. 2. Where are women running? ................................ 3. What offices do women seek? ............................ 4. Rates of incumbency .............................................. 5. Rates of success ........................................................ 6. Electoral success by municipality type ............ 7. Electoral success by office type .......................... 8. Methodology ............................................................ 3 5 6 6 7 11 12 13

Womens representation in municipal political office 3

Rates of candidacy
Women make up about 49 percent of the Alberta population (Statistics Canada, 2012)1 but only about a quarter of all those seeking municipal office in the last three elections. As Figure 1 shows, womens rate of candidacy has been slowly inching forward in the last six years. Women comprised 24.6% of candidates in 2007, 25.3% in 2010, and 27% in 2013 for an overall rate of 25.7%. In raw numbers, 659 women across the province put their name on the municipal ballot in 2007, 747 in 2010, and 823 in 2013 for an overall total of 2,229 out of almost 8,700 candidates.2 In comparison to the provincial average, women have been more active as municipal candidates in the 24 member municipalities of the Capital Region Board in the Edmonton area. Women were 24% of the candidates in the region in 2007, 27.4% in 2010, and 31.9% in 2013 for a three-election average of 28.1%. Table 1 (on the next page) provides a breakdown of candidacy rates for women and men in each member municipality.

Figure 1: Summary of women and mens rate of candidacy both overall and in the 2007, 2010, and 2013 Alberta municipal elections, by percentage
Women Men

2007 election
80

2010 election
80

75.4%

74.7%

70

70

60

60

50

50

Won 64%
25.3%

40

40

30

24.6%

30

20

20

10

10

2013 election
80

All elections
80

73.0%

74.3%

70

70

60

60

50

50

40

40

30

27.0%

30

25.7%

20

20

10

10

The lack of significant progress in womens participation in Alberta municipal elections is in keeping with trends at the provincial and federal level in Canada. In elections held between 2009 and 2012, womens rate of candidacy ranged from a low of 20% in Yukon to 34% in Quebec. Women constituted 31% of the political hopefuls in the 2011 federal election.3
0
0

Statistics Canada. 2012. Population by sex and age group, by province and territory (Proportion of, female). http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/ cst01/demo31f-eng.htm. Accessed November 16, 2013. 2 The candidate lists provided by Alberta Municipal Affairs for each election are extensive but not necessarily exhaustive; see the Methodology section for a fuller explanation. 3 Trimble, Linda, Manon Tremblay, and Jane Arscott. 2013. Conclusion: A few more women. In Stalled: The Representation of Women in Canadian Governments, eds. Linda Trimble, Jane Arscott, and Manon Tremblay. Vancouver: UBC Press, p. 297.
1

4 Womens representation in municipal political office


Table 1: Summary of women and mens rate of candidacy in the 24 member municipalities of the Capital Region Board both overall and in the 2007, 2010, and 2013 municipal elections, by percentage 2007 Municipality name Town of Beaumont Town of Bon Accord Town of Bruderheim Town of Calmar Town of Devon City of Edmonton
City of Fort Saskatchewan

2010 Men Women 22.2% 33.3% 14.3% 25.0% 33.3% 20.3% 8.3% 0.0% 0.0% 36.4% 21.4% 43.8% 57.1% 50.0% 50.0% 42.9% 26.7% 18.2% 30.0% 33.3% 10.0% 37.5% 40.0% 20.0% 20.0% Men 77.8% 66.7% 85.7% 75.0% 66.7% 79.7% 91.7% 100.0% 100.0% 63.6% 78.6% 56.3% 42.9% 50.0% 50.0% 57.1% 73.3% 81.8% 70.0% 66.7% 90.0% 62.5% 60.0% 80.0% 80.0%

2013 Women 40.0% 20.0% 42.9% 44.4% 47.4% 21.5% 20.0% 33.3% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0% 47.1% 42.9% 40.0% 61.5% 42.9% 22.2% 36.4% 20.0% 29.2% 14.3% 33.3% 41.7% 40.0% 15.5% Men 60.0% 80.0% 57.1% 55.6% 52.6% 78.5% 80.0% 66.7% 80.0% 70.0% 60.0% 52.9% 57.1% 60.0% 38.5% 57.1% 77.8% 63.6% 80.0% 70.8% 85.7% 66.7% 58.3% 60.0% 84.5%

All Women 28.9% 22.2% 34.8% 37.0% 37.8% 22.5% 18.9% 23.1% 10.7% 26.7% 27.9% 41.7% 45.0% 38.5% 48.7% 40.9% 20.4% 21.2% 26.5% 27.0% 13.3% 37.5% 29.2% 33.3% 19.2% Men 71.1% 77.8% 65.2% 63.0% 62.2% 77.5% 81.1% 76.9% 89.3% 73.3% 72.1% 58.3% 55.0% 61.5% 51.3% 59.1% 79.6% 78.8% 73.5% 73.0% 86.7% 62.5% 70.8% 66.7% 80.8%

Women 21.4% 14.3% 44.4% 40.0% 22.2% 26.9% 30.0% 28.6% 8.3% 11.1% 21.4% 33.3% 33.3% 14.3% 33.3% 37.5% 12.5% 9.1% 28.6% 19.0% 14.3% 42.9% 0.0% 40.0% 22.0%

78.6% 85.7% 55.6% 60.0% 77.8% 73.1% 70.0% 71.4% 91.7% 88.9% 78.6% 66.7% 66.7% 85.7% 66.7% 62.5% 87.5% 90.9% 71.4% 81.0% 85.7% 57.1% 100.0% 60.0% 78.0%

Town of Gibbons Lamont County Town of Lamont City of Leduc Leduc County Town of Legal Town of Morinville Parkland County Town of Redwater City of St. Albert City of Spruce Grove Town of Stony Plain Strathcona County Sturgeon County Village of Thorsby Village of Wabamun Village of Warburg City of Calgary

Womens representation in municipal political office 5


Table 2: Summary of women and mens rate of candidacy in different types of municipalities both overall and in the 2007, 2010, and 2013 municipal elections in Alberta, by percentage 2007
Municipality type City Town County Village Other Women Sex Type Sex Men Type

2010
Women Sex Type Men Sex Type

2013
Women Sex Type Sex Men Type Women Sex Type

All
Men Sex Type

9.6% 21.8% 11.2% 78.2% 42.0% 26.5% 38.3% 73.5% 18.7% 17.6% 28.5% 82.4% 27.5% 32.0% 19.1% 68.0% 2.3% 20.5% 2.9% 79.5%

11.8% 21.7% 14.3% 78.3% 40.6% 27.6% 36.0% 72.4% 23.2% 21.8% 28.0% 78.2% 21.6% 29.9% 17.1% 70.1% 2.9% 17.7% 4.6% 82.3%

10.9% 23.1% 13.5% 76.9% 43.1% 31.7% 34.4% 68.3% 19.1% 20.8% 26.9% 79.2% 19.6% 32.1% 15.4% 67.9% 7.3% 21.6% 9.8% 78.4%

10.8% 22.2% 13.1% 77.8% 41.9% 28.6% 36.2% 71.4% 20.3% 20.2% 27.8% 79.8% 22.6% 31.3% 17.1% 68.7% 4.4% 20.4% 5.9% 79.6%

Note: The type column compares women and men within each type of municipality (i.e., the percentage of city candidates who were women and men) while the sex column examines the distribution of candidates across municipality types within each gender group (i.e., among women, the percentage who ran in cities as opposed to towns and so on). The other category includes specialized municipalities, special area boards, improvement districts, and summer villages. Figures might not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Where are women running?


While women are contesting office in every type of municipality in the province, they are not doing so to the same degree as men. Table 2 outlines candidacy rates along two different dimensions: the type column compares women and men within each type of municipality, while the sex column looks at the distribution of candidates across municipalities within each gender group. As the type column shows, womens rate of candidacy does not reach parity in any type of municipality, though they do consistently constitute at least a quarter of all political hopefuls in villages and towns both overall and in each of the last three civic elections. They make up a smaller share of candidates in cities, counties, and other types of municipalities. The sex column reveals a subtle gender segregation in terms of where women and men choose to run. The large number of towns in Alberta is likely responsible for the fact that the highest percentage of both women and men candidates sought a spot on a town council, though that share was larger for women than for men in all three elections. Women were next most likely to run in villages and men opted for the counties. Women had lower rates of candidacy in counties, cities, and other types of municipalities than did men. Over time, men are exhibiting a decreasing preference for running in towns and counties, while the share of women and men in other types of communities is increasing.

6 Womens representation in municipal political office

What offices do women seek?


Not surprisingly, the lions share of women and men municipal candidates in Alberta aspire to become a regular councillor as opposed to mayor. As before, Table 3 outlines the candidacy rates for women and men within each type of office and across the two offices. The 2007 election saw men much more likely than women to run for mayor, a numerical advantage they have retained over time but which has lost its significance as women constitute an ever larger percentage of mayoral candidates with each new election. Women are making small inroads as candidates for councillor, going from 25.2% of all hopefuls in 2007 to 27.1% in 2013 for a three-election average of 26%. Overall, men are significantly more likely to run for mayor, and women for councillor.
Table 3: Summary of women and mens rate of candidacy for mayor and councillor both overall and in the 2007, 2010, and 2013 municipal elections in Alberta, by percentage

2007
Office sought Mayor Councillor Women Sex Office Sex Men Office

2010
Women Sex Office 8.4% 22.4% Men Sex Office 9.9% 77.6%

2013
Women Sex Office 8.8% 26.9% Sex Men Office

All
Women Sex Office 8.4% 23.0% Sex Men Office

7.9% 19.6% 10.6% 80.4% *

8.8% 73.1%

9.7% 77.0%

92.1% 25.2% 89.4% 74.8% * 91.6% 25.6% 90.1% 74.4%

91.2% 27.1% 91.2% 72.9%

91.6% 26.0% 90.3% 74.0%

* p < 0.05; Independent single sample t-tests used to assess differences in means between women and men. Note: The office column compares women and men within each type of office (i.e., the percentage of mayoral candidates who were women and men) while the sex column examines the distribution of candidates across office types within each gender group (i.e., among women, the percentage who ran for mayor compared to councillor).

Rates of incumbency
Ideally, we would assess potential gender differences in the rates of incumbency among Alberta municipal candidates to determine whether female incumbents and challengers are getting re-elected to office to the same degree as their male counterparts. Unfortunately, limitations in the data prevent such an analysis. The Alberta Municipal Affairs documents that the researcher has access to only indicate the incumbency status of the winners and then only for the 2010 election.4 The figures from that year follow the same pattern as rates of candidacy: women were 23.1% of all winning incumbents with men constituting the remaining 76.9%. Looking within gender, 52.1% of all female winners were incumbents compared to 53.3% of male winners.
4

A winning candidates incumbency status was indicated when she or he was referred to as mayor, mayor elect, councillor, or councillor elect.

Womens representation in municipal political office 7


Figure 2: Summary of women and mens rate of success both overall and in the 2007, 2010, and 2013 municipal elections in Alberta, by percentage

Rates of success
Women are generally getting elected to municipal office in Alberta at the same rates as men. As Figure 2 shows, almost the same percentage of women and men candidates won (either by acclamation or by vote) in the 2007 election, while the difference between the two groups in 2013 was not significant. In contrast, men were much more likely to emerge triumphant than were women in the 2010 election. As a result of the 2010 vote, the cumulative numbers for the three elections show men having a modest but still significant edge on women in terms of gaining a seat on municipal council. Looking at electoral outcomes within each gender group, Table 4 (on the next page) shows that a greater percentage of male candidates were acclaimed to office in all three elections (23.3% in 2007, 18.8% in 2010, and 23.9% in 2013) than were female candidates (21.1%, 15.5%, 20.5%). A larger share of female candidates were voted into office in 2007 (44.3% compared to mens 40.8%) while male candidates had greater success in 2010 (41.7% compared to womens 38.6%). Both groups got voted into office at almost the same rate in 2013 (men, 38.7%; women, 39.2%). Across the three elections, a larger percentage of male candidates were acclaimed (22% to womens 19%) while more female candidates lost the election (40.4% to mens 37.6%). A near equal percentage got voted into office

2007 election Lost 34.4%

Women

Men

Won 65.6%

Lost 35.8%

Won 64.2%

2010 election **

Lost 45.9%

Won 54.1%

Lost 39.5%

Won 60.5%

2013 election

Lost 40.2%

Won 59.8%

Lost 37.4%

Won 62.6%

All three elections *

Lost 40.4%

Won 59.6%

Lost 37.6%

Won 62.4%

* p < 0.05; ** p = 0.01; Independent single sample t-tests used to assess differences in means between women and men.

8 Womens representation in municipal political office


Table 4: Summary of women and mens electoral outcomes both overall and in the 2007, 2010, and 2013 municipal elections in Alberta, by percentage

2007
Electoral outcome Acclaimed Voted in Not elected Women Sex Type Sex Men Type

2010
Women Sex Type Men Sex Type

2013
Women Sex Type Men Sex Type Women Sex Type

All
Sex Men Type

21.1% 22.9% 23.3% 77.1% 44.3% 26.2% 40.8% 73.8% 34.4% 24.0% 35.7% 76.0%

15.5% 21.8% 18.8% 78.2% 38.6% 23.8% 41.7% 76.2% 46.9% 28.2% 39.5% 71.8%

20.5% 24.1% 23.9% 75.9% 39.2% 27.3% 38.7% 72.7% 40.2% 28.5% 37.4% 71.5%

19.0% 23.1% 40.5% 25.7% 40.4% 27.1%

22.0% 76.9% 40.4% 74.3% 37.6% 72.9%

Note: For a handful of cases in 2007, it was not possible to determine if a candidate had won office by acclamation or election, so they have been excluded from this analysis. The type column compares women and men within each type of electoral outcome (i.e., the percentage of acclaimed candidates who were women and men) while the sex column compares electoral outcomes within each gender group (i.e., among women, the percentage who were acclaimed, voted in, or not elected to office. Figures might not add up to 100% due to rounding or incomplete information about type of electoral success.

(mens 40.4% to womens 40.5%). As well, a smaller share of women are getting voted into office over time, dropping to 39.2% in 2013 from 44.3% in 2007. Overall, women comprised 25% of the winning candidates in 2007, 23.2% in 2010, and 26.1% in 2013 for a three-election average of 24.8%. Comparing women and men by category of electoral outcome, Table 4 reveals that women were generally about one-fifth of all candidates who were acclaimed and around one-quarter of those who were voted in or not elected to municipal office in each of the last three elections while men constituted the rest. Women are less likely to be acclaimed than elected to office in comparison to men, but they are slowly becoming a larger share of both types of winners over time. Women went from being 22.9% of acclaimed candidates in 2007 to 24.1% in 2013, and from 26.2% of elected candidates in 2007 to 27.3% in 2013. Women are also constituting an ever larger share of the losing candidates in municipal elections. Women jumped from being 24% of those who failed to get elected in 2007 to 28.5% in 2013.
Table 5: Summary of women and mens overall electoral outcomes in the member municipalities of the Capital Region Board both overall and in the 2007, 2010, and 2013 municipal elections, by percentage

2007
Electoral outcome Acclaimed Voted in Not elected Women Sex Type Sex Men Type

2010
Women Sex Type Men Sex Type

2013
Women Sex Type 9.3% 34.4% Men Sex Type 8.3% 65.6% Women Sex Type

All
Sex Men Type

12.7% 25.7% 11.6% 74.3% 43.7% 24.8% 41.8% 75.2% 43.7% 23.0% 46.2% 77.0%

17.3% 28.0% 16.8% 72.0% 39.5% 28.3% 37.9% 71.7% 43.2% 26.5% 45.3% 73.5%

12.6% 29.1% 37.8% 27.7% 49.6% 28.2%

12.0% 70.9% 38.5% 72.3% 49.3% 71.8%

33.1% 30.0% 36.1% 70.0% 57.6% 32.7% 55.6% 67.3%

Note: For a handful of cases in 2007, it was not possible to determine if a candidate had won office by acclamation or election, so they have been excluded from this analysis. The type column compares women and men within each type of electoral outcome (i.e., the percentage of acclaimed candidates who were women and men) while the sex column compares electoral outcomes within each gender group (i.e., among women, the percentage who were acclaimed, voted in, or not elected to office. Figures might not add up to 100% due to rounding or incomplete information about type of electoral success.

Womens representation in municipal political office 9


As with their rate of candidacy, women candidates in the Capital Region experienced an above-average rate of electoral success. Women were 24.8% of the winning candidates in Edmonton-area municipalities in the 2007 election, 28.2% in 2010, and 30.9% in 2013 for an overall average of 28%. Table 5 (on the previous page) breaks down the regional results by category of electoral outcome. Women have seen an impressive improvement in their rate of acclamation to office in the Edmonton region over time, jumping from 25.7% of all candidates in 2007 to 34.4% in 2013, while their rate of success in a vote has been more modest, rising from 24.8% in 2007 to 30% in 2013. Women have also seen their rate of electoral failure increase. They constituted 23% of losing candidates in 2007 and 32.7% in 2013. Table 6 (on the next page) lists the gender composition of the winning candidates for each member municipality of the Capital Region Board. With some exceptions, the results show a fluctuation in gender composition of each municipal council from one election to the next. Only Lamont County failed to elect any women in each of the last three elections.
GLOSSARY Acclaimed: Declared the winner due to a lack of (enough) competition for the available sets. Candidates who are acclaimed are elected without the need for voters to cast a ballot. Candidates for mayor are acclaimed when no one steps forward on nomination day to oppose them. Candidates for a regular council seat are acclaimed when the number of candidates who step forward on nomination day is equal to or less than the number of open seats. Voted in: Declared the winner after receiving enough votes to secure a seat on council. Not elected: Fail to earn enough votes to secure a seat on council.

Figure 3: Summary of women and mens rate of success in the Capital Region both overall and in the 2007, 2010, and 2013 municipal elections

2007 election

Women

Men

Lost 43.7%

Won 56.3%

Lost 46.2%

Won 53.8%

2010 election

Lost 43.2%

Won 56.8%

Lost 45.3%

Won 54.7%

2013 election

Lost 57.6%

Won 42.4%

Lost 55.6%

Won 44.4%

All three elections

Lost 49.6%

Won 50.4%

Lost 49.3%

Won 50.7%

Independent single sample t-tests used to assess differences in means between women and men; no significant differences found.

10 Womens representation in municipal political office


Table 6: Summary of winning women and men candidates in the 24 member municipalities of the Capital Region Board both overall and in the 2007, 2010, and 2013 municipal elections, by percentage

2007 Municipality name Town of Beaumont Town of Bon Accord Town of Bruderheim Town of Calmar Town of Devon City of Edmonton
City of Fort Saskatchewan

2010 Men Women 28.6% 40.0% 14.3% 20.0% 28.6% 30.8% 14.3% 0.0% 0.0% 28.6% 14.3% 57.1% 40.0% 28.6% 71.4% 42.9% 14.3% 14.3% 28.6% 44.4% 14.3% 40.0% 40.0% 20.0% 20.0% Men 71.4% 60.0% 85.7% 80.0% 71.4% 69.2% 85.7% 100.0% 100.0% 71.4% 85.7% 42.9% 60.0% 71.4% 28.6% 57.1% 85.7% 85.7% 71.4% 55.6% 85.7% 60.0% 60.0% 80.0% 80.0%

2013 Women 42.9% 20.0% 42.9% 40.0% 42.9% 7.7% 28.6% 42.9% 0.0% 28.6% 28.6% 28.6% 40.0% 28.6% 57.1% 42.9% 28.6% 14.3% 28.6% 44.4% 28.6% 20.0% 20.0% 40.0% 13.3% Men 57.1% 80.0% 57.1% 60.0% 57.1% 92.3% 71.4% 57.1% 100.0% 71.4% 71.4% 71.4% 60.0% 71.4% 42.9% 57.1% 71.4% 85.7% 71.4% 55.6% 71.4% 80.0% 80.0% 60.0% 86.7%

All Women 33.3% 20.0% 33.3% 33.3% 33.3% 23.1% 19.0% 23.8% 0.0% 23.8% 20.0% 42.9% 40.0% 23.8% 52.4% 38.1% 19.0% 14.3% 28.6% 44.4% 19.0% 26.7% 20.0% 33.3% 20.5% Men 66.7% 80.0% 66.7% 66.7% 66.7% 76.9% 81.0% 76.2% 100.0% 76.2% 80.0% 57.1% 60.0% 76.2% 47.6% 61.9% 81.0% 85.7% 71.4% 55.6% 81.0% 73.3% 80.0% 66.7% 79.5%

Women 28.6% 0.0% 42.9% 40.0% 28.6% 30.8% 14.3% 28.6% 0.0% 14.3% 16.7% 42.9% 40.0% 14.3% 28.6% 28.6% 14.3% 14.3% 28.6% 44.4% 14.3% 20.0% 0.0% 40.0% 33.3%

71.4% 100.0% 57.1% 60.0% 71.4% 69.2% 85.7% 71.4% 100.0% 85.7% 83.3% 57.1% 60.0% 85.7% 71.4% 71.4% 85.7% 85.7% 71.4% 55.6% 85.7% 80.0% 100.0% 60.0% 66.7%

Town of Gibbons Lamont County Town of Lamont City of Leduc Leduc County Town of Legal Town of Morinville Parkland County Town of Redwater City of St. Albert City of Spruce Grove Town of Stony Plain Strathcona County Sturgeon County Village of Thorsby Village of Wabamun Village of Warburg City of Calgary

Womens representation in municipal political office 11


Table 7: Summary of electoral success for women and men candidates in different types of municipalities both overall and in the 2007, 2010, and 2013 municipal elections in Alberta, by percentage 2007 Municipality type City Town County C ounty Village Other Women 44.4% 71.8% 59.3% 66.9% 73.3%
*

2010 Men Women 26.1% 59.4% 42.8% 71.4% 54.5%


*

2013 Women 27.8% 65.4% 47.1% 72.0% 75.0%


**

All Women 31.5% 65.3% 48.8% 70.0% 70.1%


***

Men 35.8% 67.3%

Men 36.7% 63.2% 61.0% 77.4% 77.1%

Men 37.1% 66.6% 61.1% 73.7% 65.9%

39.4% 69.2% 63.4% 73.0% 44.8%

*** 59.0%

71.1% 53.9%

* p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01; *** p < 0.001; Independent single sample t-tests used to assess differences in means between women and men. Note: The other category includes specialized municipalities, special area boards, improvement districts, and summer villages.

Electoral success by municipality type


Cities proved to be the most difficult electoral environment for all political aspirants, with about a third of candidates in the large urban centres achieving their goal of getting elected to city council over the last three elections. Still, men proved to be more successful than women over time, with more than a third of male candidates consistently winning public office in each election, as Table 7 shows. In contrast, women were far more successful in 2007 than they were in subsequent elections. Almost half of all female candidates got elected in 2007 but only a quarter in 2010 and 2013. The reason for this is difficult to ascertain without a clear understanding of the competitive environment in the cities that year (such as the rate of incumbency among candidates) or of womens success in previous elections, but it is likely the 2007 results are an anomaly. Candidates of both genders had a stronger chance of joining municipal council in smaller communities but, again, men experienced more favorable outcomes than women. With the notable exception of villages and other types of municipalities, womens rate of success outside of the cities has fluctuated over the last three elections but appears to be on a downward trend. For men, success rates are declining over time in cities, towns, and counties but have increased in villages and other municipalities. Differences between women and men are significantly in only a few instances, however. In 2010, men were significantly more likely than women to win a seat on a town council.

12 Womens representation in municipal political office


The most significant gender difference in success rates occurred in counties. In all three elections, men were much more likely than women to win a seat on a rural council. Almost two-thirds of all men who sought a rural seat got elected (either by acclamation or by vote) while less than half of women did so. This result suggests that efforts to improve womens representation in municipal politics should focus on encouraging more women to run for rural council and more rural residents to vote for them.
Figure 4: Summary of women and mens rate of electoral success in mayoral and councillor contests in municipal elections in Alberta, by percentage
80 70

Women

Men

2007 election
66.2% 65.9% 57.7% 39.7%
**

60 50 40 30 20 10 0 80 70

Councillor candidates

Mayoral candidates

2010 election
55.4% 61.4%
** **

Electoral success by office type


Women are generally getting elected as regular municipal councillors at the same rate as men, as Figure 4 shows. Put another way, when women run, they are as successful as their male counterparts. The notable exception was in 2010, when men were significantly more likely to capture a regular council seat. Still, the cumulative numbers indicate no gender difference in success rates for councillor. Becoming mayor appears to be the challenge for women. In the last two elections, men have been more successful than women at winning mayoral contests, with this difference achieving statistical significance in 2013. Women experienced a better rate of success than men in 2007, but the longitudinal analysis indicates that men have a slight lead in achieving their mayoral ambitions.

60 50 40 30 20 10 0 80 70

Councillor candidates

Mayoral candidates

2013 election
63.6% 62.3%
**

60 50 40 30 20 10 0 80 70

Councillor candidates

Mayoral candidates

63.6%

30 20 10 0

Councillor candidates

Mayoral candidates

* p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01; Independent single sample t-tests used to assess differences in means between women and men.

42.8%

40

51.9%

50

61.1%

60

34.7%
*

All three elections


*

53.8%

52.3%

49.8%

Womens representation in municipal political office 13

Methodology
This study is based on a statistical analysis of documents that Alberta Municipal Affairs posted on its website around the time of the 2007, 2010, and 2013 elections. In the last two elections, the author downloaded the candidate lists soon after nominations closed and the lists of winning candidates soon after election day. The candidate lists for 2007 were accessed some months after that election. The winners were determined using a list of council members acquired at the same time as the candidate lists. The candidate lists include the following information for each candidate: municipality name, ward number where relevant, position sought, an honorific (Ms. or Mr.), first and last names, and whether the individual was acclaimed to office. The honorific was used to identify the candidates gender, though various attempts were made to verify gender when questions arose or when the honorific was missing. In the case of the 2010 winner lists, the position name was used to determine whether the winner was an incumbent (mayor, councillor) or a challenger (mayor elect, councillor elect). This information was not provided in the 2007 council list or 2013 winner lists, or in any of the candidate lists. As for electoral outcomes, the 2007 and 2010 lists simply stated acclaimed while the 2013 lists indicated whether a candidate was acclaimed or not through a simple Y or N. Despite the extensiveness of the election lists, discrepancies were discovered as the researcher compared the candidate lists with the winner lists. Specifically, some names in the winner lists were not included in the previously posted candidate lists. This problem mainly arose in relation to those who had been acclaimed to office, though there are some cases in the 2007 election where it was not possible to determine whether a winning candidate had been acclaimed to or voted into office because of the use of a list of council members to determine electoral outcome. The possibility that these lists are not a complete catalogue of who sought municipal office in Alberta over the last three elections led to the use of tests of significance (independent single sample t-tests) to determine whether differences between women and men politicians were important indicators of gender discrepancies or simply minor variations of little real consequence. SPSS 21 (Statistical Program for the Social Sciences) was used to conduct the statistical analysis.

Slow progress:

Womens representation in municipal political office