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Coalition happy to see one-third of candidates in upcoming P.E.I. election are women

Dawn Wilson, executive director of the P.E.I. Coalition for Women in Government, encourages women to get involved in local politics.
Dawn Wilson, executive director of the P.E.I. Coalition for Women in Government, encourages Islanders to consider supporting women candidates who share their values. - File photo

The number of women candidates running in the April 23 election is up.

Nominations for the 2019 provincial election are now closed, and the P.E.I. Coalition for Women in Government has confirmed that both the number and percentage of women candidates has increased over 2015 totals.

In the 2015 provincial election, 31 women ran, representing 29.5 per cent of candidates. This year, 35 women candidates are running for the four political parties, an increase of four candidates, and women represent a full third (33.3 per cent) of candidates, an increase of almost four percentage points.

Dawn Wilson, executive director of the coalition, said the organization is pleased to see women running in all four political parties.

The representation of women among candidates varies across the four parties.

The NDP has confirmed 11 women candidates of 24 (46 per cent), which is the highest percentage in a party this election.

The Green party has confirmed nine women candidates of 27 (33 per cent).

The Liberal party has nominated eight women candidates of 27 (30 per cent), an all-time high for the party.

Women make up seven candidates (26 per cent) of the total 27 candidates within the Progressive Conservative party.

All four political party leaders are men, and several men are running as independent candidates in this election, but no women.

As has been the case in other elections across the country, women in this election are running in tougher districts.

While 46 per cent men are running in districts where their party either won or came close to winning in 2015, the same is true of far fewer women (31 per cent).

In addition, no women are running in districts where their party held a commanding lead in 2015, while 11 men are running in similar party strongholds.

It’s a positive sign to see more women running this election, said Wilson.

“In past elections, the number of women elected tracked closely with the number of women nominated, so we’re very hopeful,” she said, adding some women are running in tough districts this election.

Wilson encourages Islanders to consider supporting women candidates who share their values. They can also support them by volunteering on a candidate’s team, displaying a lawn sign or making a financial donation.

The coalition will continue to look for ways to support parties to work towards the goal of gender parity among candidates in the next provincial election.

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