Municipal elections will be held throughout B.C. this October and Tofino mayor Josie Osborne hopes to see women putting their names forward for public office.
“The single biggest barrier to electing more women in political office is getting more women to run. Gender isn’t a liability at the ballot box. Women are elected at the same rate that men are when they choose to run. So, what we need to do now is get more women running for local government,” she said. “Women need to be asked a lot more times than men do to make that decision and, I think, anything we can do to encourage more women to run for local office is a good thing for our communities.”
She said reaching gender parity is important in all levels of government to ensure “women’s issues and family issues are truly represented in policy and decision making.”
“At the municipal level, the regional district level, provincial and federal we have not achieved gender parity in Canada…In British Columbia, 36 per cent of municipal councillors are female, 27 per cent of B.C.’s mayors are women. We can do better and we need to do better,” she said.
“When we have gender parity, that’s when we begin to see the way we’re making decisions change the very culture of the institution that we’ve created…It’s an institution that’s largely been created by men so as women are getting more and more involved we’re seeing more transformation around the way dialogue occurs, the way engagement occurs and the way decisions are made and, I think, that’s a good thing for society.”
Osborne has confirmed she will be running for re-election this October and the twice-acclaimed mayor hopes to have an opponent this time around.