Canadians lean towards gender parity among first ministers as a goal, not the standard

The latest round of cabinet shuffling this week offered a window into the Liberal government’s strategy when it comes to the creating what it believes is the most politically appealing mix of first ministers.

With the departure of Nova Scotia minister Scott Brison, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was tasked with promoting MPs who reflect not just the gender balance that defined his term, but also the regional balance previous governments have sought to get right.

But how important are such considerations – and machinations – in the minds of Canadians?

A new Angus Reid Institute survey finds a plurality (45%) say gender parity should be a goal for government when composing a cabinet, though they’re less inclined to believe it should not be a top priority. The rest are evenly divided between viewing gender parity as the standard for future governments (27%) and not a consideration at all (28%).

Additionally, while the plurality view a gender balanced cabinet as having has a positive impact on government (45%), one-in-five disagree (21%), while a third say it has had no impact either way.

More Key Findings:

  • Young women are particularly positive about the impact that gender balance has had on the overall function of the federal government. Seven-in-ten (68%) say it has been positive, compared to 44 per cent of young men (the highest level among male age groups)
  • Half of Canadians say regional representation should continue to be the standard going forward, while only 7 per cent say it should not be a consideration. Support for this idea is highest in Saskatchewan (68%) and lowest in Ontario (47%)
  • Women are twice as likely as men to say that diversity should be a standard for future cabinets (36% to 19%), though half of men (48%) believe it should at least be a goal

Read the rest of the story here: www.angusreid.org/gender-balanced-cabinet