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The Local Determinants of Representation: Party Constituency Associations, Candidate Nomination and Gender

  • William P. Cross (a1) and Scott Pruysers (a2)

Abstract

It is well established that political parties play a key role as gatekeepers to elected office. This article explores the local determinants of a diverse candidate pool. In particular, we seek to uncover the district- or riding-specific party factors that are related to women's participation in the parties’ candidate nomination stages. That is, why do some nomination races in a party have no women contestants, while others have many? Using data from an original survey of party constituency association presidents, as well as extensive nomination data from Elections Canada, we demonstrate that a number of local factors are related to the presence of women contesting a party's nomination. Local party associations with a woman serving as president, as well as associations that hold earlier and longer nominations, are significantly more likely to see a woman enter the contest. The results are important since they call attention to what parties do at the grassroots level, as well as highlight practical solutions for parties seeking to have more diversity in their candidate pool.

Il est bien établi que les partis politiques jouent un rôle clé en tant que gardiens de l'accès aux fonctions électives. Cet article explore les déterminants locaux d'un bassin de candidats diversifié. En particulier, nous cherchons à découvrir les facteurs propres au district ou à la circonscription qui sont liés à la participation des femmes aux étapes de la mise en candidature des partis. Autrement dit, pourquoi certaines courses à l'investiture dans un parti n'ont-elles pas de candidates, alors que d'autres en ont beaucoup ? À l'aide des données d'un sondage original mené auprès des présidents d'associations de circonscription, ainsi que des données détaillées d'Élections Canada sur les mises en candidature, nous démontrons qu'un certain nombre de facteurs locaux sont liés à la présence de femmes qui contestent la candidature d'un parti. Les associations de partis locaux dont la présidente est une femme, de même que les associations qui présentent des candidatures plus tôt et plus longtemps, sont beaucoup plus susceptibles de voir une femme participer à la course. Les résultats sont importants, car ils attirent l'attention sur ce que font les partis à la base et mettent en lumière des solutions pratiques pour les partis qui cherchent à diversifier davantage leur bassin de candidats.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author. E-mail: scott.pruysers@ryerson.ca

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The Local Determinants of Representation: Party Constituency Associations, Candidate Nomination and Gender

  • William P. Cross (a1) and Scott Pruysers (a2)

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