For Immediate Release
January 31, OTTAWA — Equal Voice, a group advocating for gender parity by working with political parties to equip women for success in politics, and to retain women as elected officials strongly supports the parliamentary committee recommendation for hybrid Parliament to stay, allowing MPs to vote by app, participate in committees remotely and Zoom into Question Period permanently.
‘Our research shows that hybrid proceedings support gender-inclusive legislatures and will attract more women to political leadership roles and will ultimately enable them to stay,” states Chi Nguyen, Executive Director of Equal Voice. “Part of increasing the diversity of MPs is making Parliament a more inclusive and accessible workplace. Canada’s Parliament was created at a time when only a small portion of the population had the right to participate in our democracy. As times change, our institutions must too,” Nguyen concluded.
In February 2020, Equal Voice launched a Systemic Change Report with 10 recommendations that Federal, Provincial, and Territorial legislatures could take in order to make them better places for women and gender diverse people to work. A major finding was that legislatures need to modernize.
Modernization includes remote participation for MPs who cannot or should not travel to Ottawa due to illness, pregnancy, caregiving or other circumstances. Caregiving responsibilities fall disproportionately to women, and according to Statistics Canada, women spend twice as much time caring for children than men, including if they are also working outside the home. This creates added barriers for women when thinking about a career in politics.
“The pandemic forced the implementation of a much needed modernized with a technologically-forward way for parliament to successfully operate, and by extension, it challenged traditional approaches to the ways in which work was conducted and shifted perceptions of what a workplace is,” said Nguyen. “More importantly, it sparked a wave of innovation across all workplaces and in many cases, offered a vast array of new opportunities. The workplace of Parliament also stands to benefit immensely from such technological opportunities. As all Canadians are reimagining a future of work, this is a huge opportunity for our elected officials to do the same.”
While Equal Voice supports women running at all levels of government, women often choose to run at the municipal level to be able to stay physically close to families and communities. This is in contrast to the exceedingly long travel times for some MPs.
“Allowing MPs flexibility for how the work is carried out will in turn allow MPs to better serve their constituencies in circumstances when they physically cannot be there in person,” concluded Nguyen, “Additionally, we have strong reason to believe that more women will seek federal office if hybrid participation is available.”
Additional Equal Voice research documents:
Women and Gender Equality Canada
Nguyen is available for interviews upon request.
Founded in 2001, Equal Voice is a national, bilingual, multi-partisan, not-for-profit organization dedicated to electing more women to all levels of political office in Canada.
For media interviews, please contact: Barbara Barrett 343-998-8906 [email protected]