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Examining Difference : the case of women and men in municipal politics Begley, Christopher G.

Abstract

Currently, the Greater Vancouver Regional District has one of the highest rates of female participation in North America. Of 153 elected councillors and mayors, 55 are women. Token theory predicts that as women become less of a minority, they will have more influence over affairs and will be more willing to assert themselves. To a large degree, in the GVRD this proves to be the case. Women form dissenting blocs on council with greater regularity than men and women seem more willing to challenge the prevailing ideology of Canadian municipal politics than do men. While in many areas, particularly in what the priorities o f municipal government should be, female councillors in the GVRD are virtually indistinguishable from their male colleagues, in other, more openly ideological areas of municipal governance, women form a sharply distinctive group. Overall, women do seem to make a difference in the operation of municipal councils.

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