Analyzing the barriers to women's leadership in New Brunswick politics

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University of New Brunswick


The political representation of women is an issue that has been prevalent all over the world for decades. In Canada, women are typically absent from political roles at both the federal and provincial levels of politics. This is particularly true for New Brunswick politics, which has consistently fallen behind other provincial legislatures in terms of equal gender representation in political leadership roles. This thesis will analyze the lack of women in New Brunswick politics with a special focus on political leadership roles. It argues that there are four primary explanations for their absence: the persistence of traditional gender roles, party recruitment practices, varying party ideologies and a traditionalist and sexist political climate in New Brunswick. These factors have created a political climate that renders political roles, especially leadership roles, largely inaccessible to women in New Brunswick. Drawing on the Canadian literature concerning female representation and more specifically the literature on New Brunswick, I identify common narratives and themes, which I examine using a case study, a survey and interview research. I conclude that New Brunswick is a province with extremely unequal female representation, due to the four barriers, and more research and analysis is required to uncover effective solutions.