Historic Representation of Women in Politics: Edmonton, Alberta

In the most recent 2017 municipal election in Edmonton, Alberta, 15% of mayoral candidates and 29% of councillor candidates identified as women. In total, 31% of the candidates in the 2017 election identified as women. Relative to the previous election in 2013, there has roughly been a 1% increase in candidates who identify as women. In terms of women who have been elected members of municipal government (i.e., mayor, city council, public school board trustees, and catholic school board trustees), approximately 48% were women. Notably, when compared to women elected to city council, this percentage drops to 17%. To illustrate these differences, the following line graphs may be helpful in providing a visual example.

The first and only mayor who identified as a woman was Jan Reimer, who was elected in 1989 and stayed in the position for one term. It has been 29 years since a woman has been mayor in Edmonton, Alberta.

On average, the women elected and holding party seats from general provincial elections has gradually increased, from as low as 0.4% in 1968 to as high as 26% in 2015.

With that being said, women continue to hold only a quarter of party seats in elected office. When narrowing in on the province of Alberta, this number drops dramatically to a low 15%. Thus, women in Alberta hold 11% less seats in elected office in comparison to other provinces.

Alberta’s lower than average levels of gender disparity are echoed when analyzing Canada’s Members of Parliament (MPs). For instance, women currently make up 27% of Canada’s MPs, however only 15% of MPs from Alberta are women. Simply stated, the gender representation of women MPs from Alberta is 12% less than the federal average.

The percentage of women in Alberta who are Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) has gradually continued to increase over the past few decades, however is not at parity. As of 2015, women represented 32% of all MLAs.This is a 6% increase from the previous legislature that was in place in 2012.

By Anita Khakh