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Statistics show Greater Sudbury falling behind in female city council representation

PolitcsNOW reveal the number of women in Northern Ontario politics
Councill Chambers Tom Davies Square (file)

In the wake of last week's municipal election, PoliticsNOW has released statistics on the number of women in Northern Ontario politics. 

Findings revealed that Greater Sudbury and Elliot Lake are the only two cities in Northern Ontario to have elected fewer women in 2018 than they did in 2014. 

After Monday's election, Elliot Lake went from an almost equally represented council to having only one female councilor.

Greater Sudbury's city council representation on the other hand, dropped from 30 to 15 per cent following the retirement of Ward 11 councillor Lynne Reynolds and Ward 4 councillor Evelyn Dutrisac. 

Both women chose not to run for the 2018 election and were replaced by Geoff McCausland (Ward 4) Bill Leduc (Ward 11). 

PoliticsNOW founder Amanda Kingsley Malo, said that most Northern Ontario cities have improved upon, if not doubled, the number of women elected to council in the past four years.

North Bay for example, has doubled the number of female representatives on their council to 18 per cent, while Timmins has surpassed the United Nations minimum requirement for effective representation in decision making. 

Kenora and Sault Ste. Marie are also close to meeting the United Nations minimum threshold, with women representing 29 per cent of Kenora's council and 27 per cent of Sault Ste Marie's. 

While disappointed by the reduced representation in some cities, Kingsley Malo said that her team is “thrilled” to see the improvement in others. 

When asked why she suspected so few women were getting elected in Northern Ontario, she replied, “when women run, the data shows that they are elected at the same rate that men are.”

A considerable factor that Kingsley Malo highlighted, was that not many women run for political office. Since 2014, the number of female candidates in Ontario that ran municipally has only risen from 23 to 27 per cent. 

PoliticsNOW has hosted several events such as campaign bootcamps and online webinars to train and prepare women when running for election. 

In the last municipal election PolitcsNOW contributed, trained and/or supported 26 female candidates across Northern Ontario, nine of which were elected to office. 

Kingsley Malo expressed pride in all the women who ran in the municipal election. She added that getting the opportunity to learn from their experiences on the campaign trail “will help shape the next four years of advocacy and training that PoliticsNOW will do as an organization. The work to get women elected in 2022 starts now!”