News / Ottawa

Carleton University and Equal Voice release guidebook for women in politics

Researchers at Carleton University and the non-profit organization Equal Voice have released a crash course guide for women thinking of entering the life of politics.

“We look for the day when it won’t matter whether you're male or female; it’s just, 'are you going to be a good leader?' But we’re not there,” said Clare Beckton, executive director of Carleton’s Centre for Women in Politics and Public Leadership.

The guide has separate chapters on starting out, financing campaigns, branding, media training and how to prepare for the challenges facing some female candidates.

Many chapters contain examples and tips from successful women politicians.

Women currently hold 25 per cent of seats at the federal and municipal levels, according to a release from the university. It added that representation varies between 16 and 37 per cent at the provincial level.

Beckton is hoping the new guidebook will improve those numbers.

“People who want to run for office can now look in one place, and know that the guide is backed by research,” she said.

Both Equal Voice and Carleton University offer development courses to prepare women for running in politics, but Beckton said the free online guide gives access to everyone.

“If you can’t afford to go to a campaign school or you don’t have time, there is a lot of good advice in the guide,” she said.

Beckton said although many women already run successfully in politics, the guide is useful for beginners.

“We know what the reality is, and there’s still sexual stereotypes that male candidates just don’t face,” she said.

“It’s important to have an understanding of that context before you head down that road.”

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