Canada - Ottawa local government

Encouraging more women to run for elected office is hardly a fresh idea, but advocacy group Equal Voice had a fresh take on it Wednesday, launching a video of 11 female MPs offering advice to their 20-year-old selves.

With gender parity now in the federal cabinet – it’s 2016, after all – you’d  think we’d be celebrating some real progress toward the widely-accepted target of 30 per cent female representatives. Federally, we’ve made some modest gains and sit at 26 per cent.

But here in the capital, there’s still work to be done. Ottawa elected only four women to the 24-person council in 2014 – a rate of 17 per cent. And we’re actually going backwards: that’s down from 25 per cent in 2010, and 29 per cent in 2006.

Metro spoke to the four women on council about the impact this trend has on policy and participation – and how to fix it.