In late August 2022 Informed Opinions commissioned a survey to understand how Canadians perceive women’s political representation including how we rank relative to other countries, the level of importance of this issue and support for solutions.
The survey was conducted with n=2,000 general population individuals in Canada.
Here’s what we found:
When it comes to gender parity, Canadians are (understandably) unhappy when they learn of how Canada compares to other countries. In our survey, we asked Canadians to rank where Canada placed compared to other countries, with 1st being the highest proportion of women, and 187th as the lowest. Upon being informed Canada ranks 59th place, two-thirds of Canadians had an adverse reaction- expressing feelings of concern, disappointment, surprise or anger. (It’s also worth noting that we’ve dropped from 27th place 20 years ago.)
A majority of Canadians believe we need to eliminate the obstacles to make the balance of power possible. Three-quarters of Canadians (77%) say women who run for political office face greater criticism than their male counterparts. Whether this be heckling and personal attacks once entering the public eye, or critical remarks about their level of expertise and capabilities, Canadians recognize that politics is a less than welcome space for women.
For the majority of Canadians, achieving gender parity is worth the work it will take us to get there. Canadians see economic, societal and democratic benefits to achieving gender parity. Between 84-86% of Canadians believe having as many women as men in politics is good for our communities, our economy, and ensures elected officials truly represent their constituents.
So, who needs to do the work to get us there? Canadians place much of the responsibility on political parties and government. When asked who is most responsible for increasing women’s presence among elected officials, a third (35%) say it’s up to political parties to actively recruit a set of candidates that represent the diversity of citizens, and 28% say it’s up to the government to create policies to ensure our parliament and legislatures represent the diversity of citizens.
Far fewer say it is the responsibility of voters or women themselves.
According to Oksana Kishchuk: Some indicators may suggest we are making progress in gender parity but our global ranking has slipped and Canadians are noticing. Canadians agree the path to becoming an elected official looks different for women, and feel there are many reasons why this should change. They understand that ensuring women hold a balance of power delivers economic, societal, and democratic benefits.
In light of both of these advantages and our international ranking Canadians are supportive of the work it will take to get there.
The survey was conducted with 2,000 Canadians from August 24 to 30, 2022. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.
The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.19%, 19 times out of 20.
The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding. This poll was conducted by Abacus Data and paid for by Informed Opinions.
Abacus Data follows the CRIC Public Opinion Research Standards and Disclosure Requirements that can be found here: https://canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca/standards/