Are Women Premiers in Canada less likely to be Re-Elected than Men?

May 9, 2019 :: Melanee Thomas
Moderated by Chelsea Sherbut

With the UCP gaining power in Alberta’s recent provincial election, Jason Kenney became premier of Alberta and for the first time since 2008, no women preside over a Canadian provincial or territorial legislature. And that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.

Until 1991, when Rita Johnston became British Columbia premier, because of a scandal involving then Premier Bill Vander Zalm, Canadian provinces had been ruled by male premiers. Since then, 11 women has held that position, but not one of those premiers, even those who led their government to a majority mandate, has had the support required to stay in office for more than a full term after being elected. Instead, some women were forced to resign within 2 years of leading their parties to majority government re-election victories.

This presentation examines the context in which women are selected to lead political parties – a key step to becoming a premier or prime minister – to determine if women are selected to lead parties that were in crisis or decline. Evidence shows that this is not the case for most women to serve as provincial premiers; given this, we must think seriously about the other factors that keep women out of the premier’s (and prime minister’s) office.

Speaker: Dr. Melanee Thomas

Melanee Thomas is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Calgary. Her research focuses on the causes and consequences of gender-based political inequality in Canada and other post-industrial democracies. She has published research in journals such as Politics & Gender, Electoral Studies, and the Canadian Journal of Political Science. Dr. Thomas earned her first degree at the University of Lethbridge and served as U of L Students’ Union President.

Moderator: Chelsea Sherbut

Date: Thursday, May 9, 2019
Time: Doors open 11:30 am, Presentation 12 noon, buffet lunch 12:30 pm, Q&A 1 – 1:30 pm
Location: Royal Canadian Legion (north door) 324 Mayor Magrath Dr. S. Lethbridge
Cost: $14 buffet lunch with dessert/coffee/tea/juice or $2 coffee/tea/juice. RSVP not required

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