Thursday, July 22, 2004

Girl Power

Warren is all over the women in Cabinet issue. I don't find it that surprising given Martin failed to get the record number of female candidates he promised, appointed men ahead of women in some ridings, has an advisory team made almost entirely of white, English, males, and whacked Sheila Copps. 

However, with all the emphasis on having candidates from different regions represented, you think he'd try a little bit to get female representation in Cabinet. But 9 out of 39 spots in 23.1%. There were 33 female Liberal MPs elected in a caucus of 135 members - or 24.4%. So forget the population as a whole, women are under-represented in the Cabinet from the caucus. Stephan Harper meanwhile was in a worse position with only 12 female MPs elected. Yet his shadow Cabinet features...are you ready...9 women! The same number as Paul who had nearly 3 times the talent pool to choose from (and Harper wisely left Cherryl Galant off the list). It's still not great and it's shocking that the Conservatives only elected 12 female MPs but at least Harper is making an effort to help the cause of the ones who did get in.

And then there's the quality over quantity argument. Anne McLellan is a big shot. Liza Frulla got Heritage. Can you name a single other female who got a real Cabinet position? Well, Albina got the ever-thrilling Veterans Affairs, Robillard was demoted to Intergovernmental and Karen Redman is the whip (which means the only way she'll make a name for herself is if she counts wrong and the government falls). The rest got a few token Secretary of State portfolios. Even though Chretien was rightly criticized for not promoting women, the Anne McLellan/Sheila Copps/Jane Stewart trifecta all had power positions in government (with others like Robillard in high profile posts too) . Now? Well, let's just be thankful Landslide Annie squeaked out a win or else things would really be ugly.