Women's Day Poll: Women Split on Gender Parity in Politics


Radio host Tasha Kheiriddin will moderate March 8th women’s panel in Ottawa to celebrate women and discuss poll findings.

March 7, 2017


OTTAWA – The idea of having the same number of men and women sitting in the federal cabinet or Parliament isn’t an automatic winner with Canadian women, according to a new poll for public policy think tank Cardus. A plurality of women (45%) said having that form of simple gender parity in politics did not matter to them, while 40% of women said it did. That compares with almost seven in 10 men who said it didn’t matter and only 23% who said it did. Overall, 57% of Canadians tell Angus Reid Forum that having the same number of men and women sitting in the federal cabinet or Parliament did not matter to them. Andrea Mrozek, program director for Cardus Family, says she sees a need for new thinking on women’s equality.

“I think this is one indicator that many people – including many women – feel simple numerical equality in Parliament or federal cabinet isn’t a magic bullet,” said Mrozek.

Dr. Beth Green, program director for Cardus Education, says the poll’s findings are thought provoking.

“I’m keen to hear from our panel on Wednesday about what they think about gender parity, and how it fits in with broader efforts to value and honour women’s contributions to public life,” said Dr. Green.

Dr. Green and Andrea Mrozek will co-host an International Women’s Day event taking place at the Ottawa offices of Cardus on the evening of March 8, 2017. Tasha Kheiriddin, a Toronto radio host named one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2016 by the Women’s Executive Network, will serve as moderator for a panel of four women from diverse backgrounds who will discuss the poll’s findings and other issues regarding women’s flourishing in Canada.

The poll asked several additional questions, finding that that Canadians don’t fit easily into clear ideological categories on women’s issues:

Feminist Diversity

Canadians told the pollster that feminism needed to be open to a diversity of views – even on controversial issues. When asked whether one could “be a feminist and pro-life” 57% of women said yes. That contrasts with 47% of men who agreed.

“Clearly there is no cardboard cut-out position on women’s issues,” said Mrozek. “International Women’s Day is the perfect time to underline that Canadian women, in particular, believe mainstream feminism is a big enough tent to include those who are pro-life.”

Women’s Advancement

Do Canadians believe women are held back because they are women? 44% of Canadians answered that question with a yes. On this question, however, there was a clearer divide between the sexes with 57% of women agreeing that women are held back, while only 31% of men said the same.


Men and women are also divided on the question of whether mothers and motherhood are valued highly enough in Canada today. When asked, 52% of women said motherhood was not valued highly enough, while only 39% of men said the same.

“It’s troubling that a majority of women feel that they are held back because they are women and that motherhood is not valued highly enough in Canada,” said Dr. Green. “I think it’s worth exploring whether valuing motherhood more highly could lead to women feeling less marginalized.”


Clear majorities of both men and women agree that there isn’t one person or organization that can credibly claim to represent Canadian women. Sixty percent of Canadian women and 61% of Canadian men said no one person or organization could speak on Canadian women’s behalf.

Complete poll results are available for download here.

Poll Methodology

From February 24th to February 26th 2017 an online survey was conducted among 1,025 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error, which measures sampling variability, is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.


Daniel Proussalidis
Cardus – Director of Communications
613.241.4500 x.508


Cardus is a non-partisan think tank dedicated to clarifying and strengthening, through research and dialogue, the ways in which society's institutions can work together for the common good.

Topics: Family