Participation by women down in West Kootenay/Boundary elections

Fewer women are running for office in our area this year than in 2011, both in actual numbers and as a percentage of overall candidates.

Fewer women are running for office in West Kootenay/Boundary this year than in 2011, both in actual numbers and as a percentage of overall candidates.

In 2011, 94 women sought positions — ten for mayor, 48 for councillor, seven for regional director, and 29 for school trustee, representing about 42 per cent of the 223 total candidates. This year there are 85 women running — 11 for mayor, 41 for councillor, nine for regional director, and 24 for school trustee, which is 37 per cent of the 230 total candidates.

Grand Forks has the most women running with ten, and also had the greatest increase over 2011, when it had six. Midway and Warfield have the fewest with one each.

The greatest decreases over 2011 are in Kaslo, Nelson, and Rossland, where three fewer women are running.

In 2011, five women were acclaimed or elected mayors of their communities, the most there have ever been at once. After next month’s election, there will be a minimum of four and a maximum of eight. New Denver mayor Ann Bunka and Fruitvale mayor Patricia Cecchini have both been acclaimed to second terms, while in Rossland and Slocan, both mayoral candidates are women. Two women are also running for mayor in Grand Forks, and one each in Kaslo, Nakusp, and Nelson.

Should Deb Kozak be elected in Nelson, she’ll be the city’s first female mayor in its 117 years. Trail and Warfield have never elected women as mayors either. Trail, in fact, has only ever had one woman seek the position — in 1922, when Doris Robinson put her name forward and finished third.

At the regional district level, nine women are running this year compared to seven in 2011, and across the four school districts, 24 women are seeking trusteeships, compared to 29 in 2011.

This story will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser

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