Alberta’s Gender Change: A First for Women’s Leadership

It is definitely not a first that the Albertan Premier and official Leader of the Opposition are the same gender. Actually, that has been the general rule in the history of this province’s 107 year old legislature* . 2012 follows suit, however it also represents a major milestone in women’s equality and leadership in Alberta. For the very first time, two women represent this province as Premier and official Leader of the Opposition. It is also the first time that women have been elected by voters in Alberta to each of these positions.

Congratulations to all 114 women that ran in the 2012 Alberta Election. After our previous provincial election in 2008, women only represented a meager 20% of the legislature. I am passionate about women’s leadership and expect to (one day) see a fair representation of gender and Alberta’s social and economic diversity represented within our governing bodies. Therefore I’m pleased to see an increase with this election. Approximately one quarter of the newly elected Members of the Legislative Assembly are women. This is a small step closer to an accurate representation of women in the legislature since approximately 50% of Albertans are women.

Studies show that with a minimum critical mass of 30% of women’s representation on decision making bodies, institutions reap many benefits, including enhanced innovation and better problem-solving skills. More specifically, women have the increased ability to recognize the needs of diverse stakeholders and anticipate the effects of a decision on an entire community. Additionally, women have better attendance and approach responsibilities more collaboratively than men.

For more information on women’s leadership at all levels of Canadian politics, visit equalvoice.ca

-Leah

*Despite a 3 year exception when Nancy MacBeth acted as the opposition leader, from 1998-2001, and the past six-months with Redford as the leader of the Progressive Conservatives.

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