Group continues goal to encourage women to enter politics

NANAIMO – With two female councillors, Nanaimo has one of the lowest representations by women in civic government among 10 major cities.

Elections results might now show it, but a new Women in Politics network has made inroads, according to co-founder Pat Bugera.

Nanaimo voters elected two women to office on Nov. 15, maintaining the status quo despite an effort by Women in Politics to raise the profile of gender representation in local government and equip more women to run for office.

Across 10 of B.C.’s largest municipalities, 40 per cent of those elected to council are women and female politicians take up half the seats in cities like Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria. Nanaimo didn’t fare as well, with the fewest number of female candidates vying for seats and one of the lowest percentages of representation by women in civic government, according to statistics compiled by University of B.C. doctoral candidate Grace Lore.

Bugera is disappointed in the numbers, but said the group didn’t see a drop in the number of women elected and has been able to start conversation and momentum around the need for more women to get involved in politics. The group plans to keep people talking with a debriefing on the election this January and information sessions on politics. It could also take the conversation about women and politics Island-wide.

“I’m more enthused. I’m more dedicated to it. If one wants to look at and say you didn’t improve it, I disagree … I think that we raised awareness,” Bugera said, adding they can’t let the momentum go. “We are at the bottom of the pile when it comes to provincial statistics in the Nanaimo area, but that doesn’t mean we don’t do anything about it.”

The group, which started this year, reflects a national push for more female leaders. According to those involved in the local and national effort, women often need to be asked to get involved in politics, but citizens benefit from different leadership styles and perspectives when they do.

Lore said there is a good increase in the overall percentage of women candidates and councillors elected Nov. 15 and incremental gains at the provincial and federal level, which she says is promising.

But the results in Nanaimo also show the need for a network like Women in  Politics, which she says creates a community that can facilitate women in politics getting elected and help some women make the choice to put their name on the ballot.

Coun. Diane Brennan, who was re-elected, says women are “seriously underrepresented” and continue to be, but she also points out that Women in Politics held its meeting earlier this year.

If it continues to work together, she hopes the next election sees more women, she said.

“There’s lots of people who it takes a couple of times to get elected, so I hope those women come back and know there is support for their campaigns and we’ll work with them to figure out ways for them to get more votes,”she said.

Brennan plans to maintain her own contacts within the network and says she could also look to it for support during her term.

For more information, or to get involved in the group, please contact Bugera at 250-618-8831.

Just Posted

Janice Coady, left, Aimee Chalifoux and Linda Milford at a vigil for Amy Watts on Wednesday, June 16, outside Nanaimo city hall. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
‘We need to do better,’ says mother of woman who was killed in Nanaimo

Vigil held for former outreach worker Amy Watts, whose body was found downtown June 3

The B.C. Ministry of Education has announced close to $44 million for the province’s schools for COVID-19 recovery. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school stakeholders say COVID-19 recovery funding can make a difference

B.C. Ministry of Education announces it expects a ‘near-normal’ return to class in September

Nanaimo artist Melissa Anderson has paintings on display at White Rabbit Coffee Co. for the next month. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo painter showcases coastal Island views in first exhibit in two years

Melissa Anderson presents ‘Seascapes’ oil painting exhibit at White Rabbit Coffee Co.

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of June 6-12. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
New COVID-19 cases up on Island, but health officials say trends going right way

There were 22 new COVID-19 cases in Greater Victoria last week after just four the week before

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

Most Read