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2004-05-26: Support Female Candidates In Federal Election

Letter to the Editor
Submitted by Kirstin Lund, PEIACW Chairperson
May 26, 2004

One of the issues noted in our soon-to-be released 2004 Federal Elections Guide is the lack of women elected to public office. Women make up more than 50% of the population and less than 21% of the House of Commons. None of these women represent PEI.

Because of this low representation, policy decisions impacting women - decisions in the areas of health, education, economics and justice - are being made without fair representation of womenís voices and experiences. As a result, women live with countless inequities.

Recent research by the PEI Coalition for Women In Government has shown that, in itís entire history PEI has only sent two women to the House of Commons: Mary MacDonald (PC) in 1961 and Catherine Callback (Lib.) in 1988. The five women running in the 2004 election almost double the number of women nominated by their parties in 2000. Itís worth noting that women make up 50% of the nominated candidates in two different parties. They represent almost 30% of the 17 women who have ever been nominated for a federal seat in PEI.

There are many barriers to womenís election to public office, not the least of which is the time that is required to campaign and to then represent constituents. Statistics tell us that women contribute the majority of unpaid work in communities and families, including playing a huge role in caring for children and elders. Many women do not have time for the immense amount of community service that comes with campaigning or being an elected representative.

For this reason, I would like to thank the five qualified women who have agreed to accept their partyís nomination and campaign for federal office. I appreciate the time and effort that you are making so that you can benefit your community.

I ask that readers consider how they might support a woman running in their riding. Call her campaign headquarters to find out how you can volunteer some time to work on her campaign. Send a much needed financial contribution. Vote for her on June 28. Iím certain that all of the candidates would welcome any offered support.

Kirstin Lund is the Chairperson of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women

Please contact Lisa Murphy at the PEI Advisory Council Office for additional information - 368-4510.

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