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Percentage of women elected in P.E.I. municipalities jumps

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. - Mitsuki Mori

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - The percentage of women elected to municipal councils in Charlottetown, Summerside, Stratford and Cornwall has jumped seven per cent.

That’s according to numbers released by the P.E.I. Coalition for Women in Government.

The number jumped from 23 per cent elected in 2014 to 30 per cent on Monday night.

“We are pleased to see an increase in the percentage of women elected in the four municipalities whose elections are administered by Elections P.E.I.,’’ said Dawn Wilson, executive director for the P.E.I. Coalition for Women in Government. “However, we recognize that this percentage remains well below parity.”

Summerside saw the biggest boost in the number of women nominated and elected in the 2018 municipal election. Women now make up 37.5 per cent (three out of eight) of Summerside city council compared to 12.5 per cent (one out of eight) in 2014.

Charlottetown also saw an increase in the number of women elected to the council, to 20 per cent (two out of 10) from 10 per cent (one out of 10) in 2014.

The number of women elected to Stratford town council remained the same at 33.3 per cent (two out of six), while the number of women elected to Cornwall town council decreased to 33.3 per cent (two out of six), from 50 per cent (three out of six) in 2014.

The newly amalgamated municipality of Three Rivers is now among the five largest municipalities and the results there follow the trends in Charlottetown, Summerside, Stratford and Cornwall, with (three out of 12) 25 per cent of councillors being women and a man elected as mayor. The coalition is reviewing and analyzing election results in other municipalities across the Island before commenting on Islandwide results and trends.

“Women were nominated and competed strongly for mayor in all five of the largest municipalities,” said Wilson.

Minerva McCourt returns as mayor of Cornwall, the only woman mayor among the five municipalities.

“It’s clear there is still work to do to reduce barriers to women’s participation in elected office to ensure future councils reflect the diversity of the Island population. In the meantime, we look forward to collaborating with municipal councils to ensure the voices and experiences of women and diverse groups are considered in policies and practices.”

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