Women in Local Government

Achieving 30 Percent Representation

The United Nations states that women need to make up at least 30 per cent of decision-making bodies, like municipal councils, before they can affect change. This will encourage more women to voice their opinions on issues of importance to them.

Following the 2016 Nova Scotia municipal elections, women now comprise close to this statistic. 27 per cent of municipal councils are comprised of women while 38 per cent represent mayors. In terms of CAOs, women comprise 24 per cent. These percentages on the elected side have increased from the previous two municipal elections. The municipal campaign schools for women hosted by the NSFM in 2008 and 2012 may be one of the reasons which account for this increase.

Why We Need Women in Municipal Government

Women’s lives are different from those of men. They offer different and valuable perspectives when making decisions that affect entire communities.

Women offer valuable talent and experience providing benefits to many types of volunteer organizations and businesses. They hold a wealth of knowledge about their municipality that is often overlooked. Increasing the number and diversity of women who make municipal decisions will ensure the needs of women and men of all backgrounds and abilities are met. Municipal governments need that talent and knowledge.

Increasing women’s participation in municipal government will

• help ensure that municipal governments reflect the populations they serve
• increase the range of people who make decisions and who have input into decision making
• promote democracy by ensuring women’s perspectives are counted
• increase the talent pool available to municipalities.

This section will inform you about the work the NSFM has done to promote women in local government and outline ways women can actively participate in municipal decision-making.

We encourage women to get involved in all areas of municipal government. We want women to vote, to get involved in community issues important to them, attend public consultations, join committees and boards, and run for council.