A group of women are collaborating to push for greater female representation in the province’s Legislature.
“Women for 50%” was recently created with the goal to have the New Brunswick Legislature composed equally of men and women. The group was first created by 12 members in January at the Saint John’s Union Club. They mean to support female candidates who will try to become part of the New Brunswick Legislature during the provincial election in 2018.
Robyn Tingley is one of the founders of the group, and says that only 16 per cent of the provincial legislature consists of women.
Tingley believes that a government should reflect all of its citizens, and it fails to do so effectively. She believes a conversation needs to be started in the province in order for “issues and barriers” to be better understood.
“Diversity leads to better decisions. Greater diversity will ensure more views, lived experiences, and different perspectives are considered in the decision making process, which will result in better outcomes for the province,” said Tingley.
They decided to start their movement early to ensure that they create “mass awareness” over the necessity for improvement as well as engaging and supporting as many women who are interested as possible.
Emma Donnelly, a second year student at UNB, said she liked the general idea of having a provincial legislature that consisted of 50 per cent men and 50 per cent women, but in the end the person’s experience should matter over their gender.
“I do believe in equal representation, I think it’s important to have 50/50, but also I think it’s important to have the most qualified people,” says Donnelly.
She fully supports what “Women for 50%” are doing, but would have to choose experienced members over a gender equal legislature if she had to.
Right now, the group’s first priority is to hold a conference for women who are interested in running for legislature or for anyone who wants to learn more about how to support women who want to get involved in politics.
Sheila Copps, a former politician and Deputy Prime Minister of Canada will be the guest speaker at the conference.
There are about 400 people registered to be present at the conference, originally intended to be held in February, but due to the weather it was postponed until early April.