What It’s Really Like To Be A Woman in Canadian Politics

After hearing from 86 of Canada’s 91 female MPs, one thing became clear—if we want to see more women in government, there’s a lot of work left to be done.

canadian female mps
Clockwise from top left: Salma Zahid, Michelle Rempel, Celina Caesar-Chavannes and Monique Pauzé

The sunny days of fall 2015 signalled a big change for women in Canadian politics: A record number were elected to Parliament, and the newly minted self-proclaimed feminist prime minister announced the first gender-balanced cabinet. But since then, in the words of Conservative MP Michelle Rempel, it hasn’t exactly been “all roses and peaches and unicorns.” So what is life really like for our country’s female politicians?

As the campaign for the next federal election began to heat up, Chatelaine contacted every woman currently serving in the 42nd Parliament, holding round-table discussions, conducting one-on-one interviews and emailing them slightly nosy questionnaires. After hearing from 86 of the 91 female MPs, one thing became clear—if we want to see more women in government, there’s a lot of work left to be done. Over the next few weeks we will be taking a closer look at the challenges they face, from sexism to partisanship, daycare struggles to question period drama—and also what can be gained when there’s more female representation in government.

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