77% of Canadians believe men and women are treated differently in politics, according to new national poll

Survey also showed that mentorship and educational programs forwomen, like Daughters of the Vote, were seen as critical to increasing the number of women in politics.

(Ottawa, November 22, 2018) Today, Equal Voice Canada (EV) released the findings of comprehensive research conducted by Abacus Data on women’s engagement in politics and the perception of women in politics. Equal Voice is also extending its deadline for Daughters of the Vote applications from today to January 6, 2019.

The objectives of the Abacus study were to understand how women perceive the political landscape and political involvement, and what they believed were potential barriers to entering politics. It also aimed to identify tangible strategies Equal Voice could pursue to increase political involvement amongst women.

“As a national, multi-partisan organization in existence for nearly 20 years, Equal Voice has ample anecdotal evidence pointing to the fact that female elected officials are treated differently than their male counterparts,” said Equal Voice Executive Director Nancy Peckford.

“What’s significant, is that these results show that Canadians, both men and women, now understand this reality – arguably a first step in changing the gender imbalance in Canadian politics.”

Key findings of the Abacus Data research include:

  • 77% of men and women agreed that politically involved women are treated differently than their male counterparts. Men 18-29 are much more likely than older men to say women are treated differently in politics (35% vs 20%respectively).
  • There is a clear gap in self-reported political knowledge among men and when asked how much they know about politics, women are 19% less likely than men to say they know a lot/a fair amount about politics.
  • One in five women have considered getting involved in politics. However, consideration (whether involved currently or not) among younger men (18-29) is almost twice as high, compared to women in the same age group (43% and 24%, respectively).
  • Women surveyed did not see their traits align with those they used to describe politicians. Women were much more likely to ascribe the traits of competitive, confident, thick-skinned, and risk-taker to politicians, rather than themselves.
  • Family obligations, like child care and household responsibilities were a very good/good reason for 74% of women, to not be involved in politics.

“The survey demonstrates that for women, the barriers to entering politics are layered, and still very real in 2018” said Peckford.

“The research also gave us tangible recommendations for change, indicating that initiatives such mentorship programs for women, as well educational program for girls to better understand opportunities for political involvement, are considered highly useful.”

Peckford said that in fact, Equal Voice’s groundbreaking Daughters of the Vote program is in line with the survey’s recommendations.

Daughters of the Vote 2019 will once again provide an opportunity for 338 young women aged 18 to 23 – one from each federal riding – to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime multi-partisan political leadership program in Ottawa next April.

TheDaughters of the Vote four-day program includes a sitting in the House of Commons, an Indigenous Forum, policy development workshops, leadership training sessions, and many engagement opportunities with elected officials and political experts of all stripes.

Note: In order to ensure a regionally diverse candidate pool, the application deadline for Daughters of the Vote 2019 has been extended to midnight PST, on January 6, 2019.

“The research that we’re sharing today will be extremely helpful in guiding Equal Voice’s work moving forward” said Peckford. “We’re also hopeful it will be useful for the many like-minded organizations and actors, domestically and internationally, working hard to push for gender balance in politics alongside Equal Voice.”

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Research methodology: Abacus Data conducted two focus groups (one with women involved in their community, and one with women involved in politics) in early September 2018, and surveyed 2,000 Canadian residents, 18 and over from September 14th to 18th 2018.

For more information, including to set up interviews with DoV organizers and with 2017 DoV delegates, please contact:

Valérie Gervais valgervais@live.com 613-741-9376