Monday, April 18, 2011

The Women of Vancouver

Ever heard of Hedy Fry? She's the Liberal incumbent in Vancouver Centre. She's been there ever since 1993, when she had the rare distinction of beating the Prime Minister when she took 31.2% of the vote to Kim Campbell's 25.1%.

Interesting, I noted - this long-standing female MP displaced another female MP. Turns out Kim Campbell replaced a woman too - a fellow Progressive Conservative who had been appointed to the Senate. Vancouver Centre has been in female hands constantly since 1980.

Already impressive, but here's more: now that the nomination deadline has passed, we can see from Election Canada's website how many candidates this time out are female.

Half. Four in eight. Well, that's a bit impressive, I suppose. Except that the four male candidates are from the Libertarian Party, the Marxist-Leninist Party, the Progressive Canadian Party and the Pirate Party. Powerhouses all that can expect a total combined vote of, what, two percent?

The other 98 percent will go to women. The Conservative, the Liberal, the New Democrat, the Green: all female. To call this remarkable is to understate it.

So how female-friendly is Vancouver as a whole? Well, let's look at the eleven seats that Wikipedia calls "Greater Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast". I'm only looking at the four major parties, and in each case I'll list them in the order Conservative, Liberal, NDP, Green. I'll put the incumbent in bold, and I'll number the independents and 'others' in parentheses after.
  • Vancouver Centre: C:F, L:F, N:F, G:F (oth: 0/4): 100% Female (7,731)
  • Vancouver East: C:F, L:F, N:F, G:M (oth: 1/1): 75% Female (5,087)
  • Vancouver Kingsway: C:F, L:F, N:M, G:F (oth: 1/3): 75% Female (5,706)
  • Vancouver Quadra: C:F, L:F, N:M, G:F (oth: 0/0): 75% Female (2,441)
  • New Westminster-Coquitlam: C:F, L:M, N:M, G:F (oth: 0/1): 50% Female (2,022)
  • Vancouver South: C:F, L:M, N:F, G:M (oth: 0/1): 50% Female (4,455)
  • Burnaby-Douglas: C:M, L:M, N:M, G:F (oth: 0/3): 25% Female (2,761)
  • Burnaby-New Westminster: C:M, L:M, N:M, G:F (oth: 0/2): 25% Female (1,933)
  • West Vancouver-Blah Blah Blah: C:M, L:M, N:F, G:M (oth: 2/5): 25% Female (9.7)
  • North Vancouver: C:M, L:M, N:M, G:M (oth: 0/1): 0% Female (282.6)
  • Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam: C:M, L:M, N:M, G:M (oth: 0/1): 0% Female (162.8)

Some interesting things to note here. First of all, I've put the population density in parentheses at the end of each line. I've never been to Vancouver and don't know much about it, so this is a good measure of 'urban' vs. 'rural'. And here, we see a huge distinction:
  • In the most rural three ridings, there are 11 male candidates and 1 female.
  • In the middle four (1000-4000 people per square kilometre), there are 9 male and 7 female candidates.
  • In the most urban four ridings (all of which are named Vancouver Something), there are 4 male candidates and 12 females.

In other words, the more urban a riding is, the more likely it is to have female candidates (to a remarkable degree).

Party by party, there are interesting differences.
  • The Greens have more female candidates than males, 6:5.
  • Interestingly, so do the Conservatives. Though all three of their incumbents are rural and male, they're running six females.
  • Oddly, then, the NDP lag behind, with 7 males and 4 females. And of their five incumbents, only one is female.
  • The Liberals are tied with the NDP, with their four female candidates all within the city proper. Two of their three incumbents are female.

Of a total of 44 candidates in 11 ridings, then, 20 are female to 24 males - slightly off half. Though that's due to how 'Greater Vancouver' is defined.

Looking at those incumbency numbers, though, note that only 3 in 11 are female: that's far from half-and-half. That means that among non-incumbents, slightly more than half are female: 17 to 16.

Another thing to note: Women perform terribly outside of the four main parties. There are 22 'other' candidates in the Vancouver area, and the numbers are an embarrassing 4 females to 18 males.

All useless stats, maybe, but interesting. I'd like to do this again for other parts of the country if I get a chance.

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