Politicians lament 'discouraging' obstacles women forced to overcome
Nikki MacDonald is the Liberal candidate in the Victoria riding for the upcoming federal election. It's her first political campaign and she expects she may face challenges men don't. "Some people seem more willing to say negative or offensive things about women," MacDonald said.
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps expressed her concern on Monday about online trolling she's received as mayor, which then led to misogynistic emails directed towards her.
"Women have fought for a long time – for hundreds of years – to get to these kinds of places, and now that we're here it is very discouraging," she said. "I can handle it, I signed up for the job. But what about the next young woman who might consider running for mayor, or council, or MP?"
On Vancouver Island, currently only 13 of the 34 candidates for the major parties are women. There are are two ridings with no female candidates, Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke and Courtenay-Alberni. And out of the seven Island ridings, only two, Victoria and Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, have more female candidates than men.
Megan Leslie is a former MP in Halifax. She noted the problem isn't isolated to the West Coast, and says parties are partly to blame for the lack of female candidates. "The struggle is making sure that parties put women on the ballot. If a women's name is on the ballot in a winnable riding, they can win it just as much as a man can."
A truth that Macdonald – and the 12 other women running for MP – hope becomes more widely recognized by Oct. 21.