Differences of Opinion: How Canadian and US business leaders think about gender diversity

RBC continues to do interesting research and reports on diversity issues. This Canada-United States comparison being the most recent example (and it challenges Canadian smugness about our diversity policies in the corporate sector). These two charts are particularly revealing, report recommendations follow:

1. Be aware that diversity mandates can backfire.

Surprisingly, mandatory diversity training can often have the opposite effect, increasing bias rather than eliminating it. Research over several decades has shown that corporate leaders and managers are less motivated to increase diversity if they are forced to do so. In one study, Harvard Business Review researchers who analyzed data from hundreds of US firms found that “companies get better results when they ease up on the control tactics.”

Similarly, national policies that promote gender parity, diversity, and gay rights may be viewed as controlling or policing people’s personal opinions and actions. Equal opportunity or pro-diversity legislation may make organizations “check the boxes” to advertise their compliance with the requirements, but may also make them less likely to make practical efforts to reduce gender or other types of discrimination. Rather, engaging leaders and managers to become advocates for change is more effective. Voluntary training to raise awareness, along with mentoring and coaching efforts, participation in task forces or councils, or leadership of affinity groups, works best.

2. Try more innovative solutions.

The most appropriate measures vary across industries and firms, and a decision not to adopt any specific approach cannot be interpreted as a failure. Still, our study shows that companies in both the US and Canada are using only a subset of all the potential strategies. Canadian companies tend to take fewer risks and are less likely to try innovative solutions than their US counterparts. Solutions that have been adopted less frequently in Canada than in the US may provide ideas for further action by Canadian firms. They include:

  • Job auctions or trial hiring (37% vs 43%)
  • On-the-job development activities that provide opportunities to generate business impacts (38% vs 44%)
  • Support for working parents (34% vs 43%)
  • Flex time (48% vs 52%), part-time (31% vs 35%) and childcare subsidies (27% vs 31%)
  • Assessing performance relative to gender diversity targets (37% vs 44%)

3. Build a strong business case for women in senior management.

“Fundamentally, having a workforce and a senior management team that represents the clients and communities an organization serves is both an asset and a competitive advantage,” says Jennifer Tory, Chief Administrative Officer at RBC. “Diversity of gender, thought, and background creates inclusive teams that generate better ideas and solutions. Inclusive teams are strong teams, and strong teams make better business decisions.”

4. Invest in retraining and reintegrating women into the workplace.

One of the biggest challenges in both the US and Canada is the issue of parental leave and how it affects women’s careers. The two countries differ markedly with respect to national policies. In the US, women who take maternity leave do not receive guaranteed payments from the federal government. The Family and Medical Leave Act protects their job for up to 12 weeks; some individual companies and states may offer more generous policies or a short-term disability policy that pays women during their leave of absence. By contrast, Canada is far more generous; its mandated 12-month parental leave is expected to stretch to 18 months in 2018.

In a way, that could “create unintended consequences” for women’s advancement in Canada, says the University of Toronto’s Dart. She notes that although both parents can share the leave, men are often reluctant to take time off. “In many Scandinavian countries paternity and maternity leave are mandatory. Both men and women leave the workplace for a time when they have children, so there is less of an opportunity for gender bias. It has to be mandatory. You have to make it an equal playing field.”

In Canada and other countries where equal parental leave is not mandated, being away from the job for so long could be detrimental to women’s careers, she adds. “Women step out, often because of family pressure, and find it very difficult if they want to come back later on. They have lost their professional networks and they don’t know if their skills are up-to-date. Many companies don’t actively work on bringing women back to work; it is easier to advance the women who have stuck it out.”

5. Make a concerted effort to change societal perceptions.

Here’s where male role models, influencers, pressure groups, and governments play a big part. “With regard to progressing in their career, women are working really hard, but they need networks and sponsorship much earlier in their career,” says Jennifer Reynolds, CEO of the Toronto Financial Services Alliance (TFSA), a public-private partnership that supports the financial services industry. “We need to actively challenge senior management on that, and we have to have men in this dialogue.”

Dart advocates going even further. “There is a very large gap in the middle part of the pipeline,” she says. “There’s always more commitment that we need to see in senior leaders. We need more CEOs and board chairs to advance their support of women. But this battle is not lost at the corporate front. This battle is lost at the home front. The expectations of women, the roles they are supposed to play, are different in different cultures. That’s where we need to start: changing role expectations.”

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Big Oil Has A Diversity Problem : NPR

Good profile of US oil patch and diversity. Assume similar in Canada but I welcome Canadian oil patch reader comment and insight:

Oil industry leaders say they want be more welcoming to women and minorities. Both groups are underrepresented across much of the oil industry, compared with the U.S. workforce as a whole.

One example is the category “oil and gas extraction,” where Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show only 20.2 percent of workers are women, compared with 46.8 percent in the overall workforce. African-Americans make up only 6.2 percent in the same category, compared with 11.9 percent overall.

At oil companies, “for both women and for African-Americans, they tend to be among the worst performing in terms of both pay gaps and employment representation,” says sociologist Don Tomaskovic-Devey. He directs the Center for Employment Equity at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and wrote a report about these federal labor statistics.

Tomaskovic-Devey says some firms probably do a better job than others. He says it’s difficult to know because those numbers aren’t available. “The key thing to understand is when diversity is a managerial priority, it happens,” he says.

The great crew change

A few people at the top of the oil business do want to make diversity a priority. One reason is something the industry calls “The Great Crew Change.” After the oil bust in the 1980s, a lot of companies stopped hiring. That has left the industry with an aging workforce that includes many who are headed toward retirement.

Winkel co-authored a 2016 American Petroleum Institute research report detailing how many women and minorities work in the oil and gas business now and how that could change in the future. It projects the industry needs to attract 1.9 million new workers by 2035 to make up for retirements and growth in the oil business.

“We know from the Census Bureau that we will be a majority-minority country by 2044 … Those changing demographics demand that we pay more attention to diversity than, perhaps, we have in the past,” says Winkel.

You can see evidence of the industry’s desire to at least appear as if it’s changing in advertisements for big oil companies. One from ExxonMobil shows a string of mostly women and minority workers wearing hard hats and holding signs that tout the benefits of the industry.

This ExxonMobil advertisement features a string of female and minority workers that are much more diverse than the oil industry’s actual workforce.
ExxonMobil YouTube
Chevron’s Twitter posts highlight the company’s commitment to diversity in its suppliers.

The company has made diversity and inclusion one of the core principles highlighted in its mission statement called “The Chevron Way.”

“Staffing our workforce for the future is a priority and we actually start focusing on our talent pipeline with kids as young as 5 years old,” says Rhonda Morris, vice president of human resources at Chevron.

Big oil companies like Chevron and ExxonMobil spend millions promoting science and math to children around the world — in part hoping that it will lead to a more diverse workforce. At colleges, those companies recruit women and minorities and then offer them mentors. And for existing employees, there are programs such as unconscious bias training.

Ray Dempsey, the chief diversity officer at BP America, says this is good for business. “There’s data that you can find from many, many sources that talk about how much difference a more diverse and a more inclusive workforce can make on your fundamental business outcomes.”

Dempsey says executives already embrace diversity. The focus these days is on middle managers where the hiring and firing happens.

But he says there are other things about the oil industry that are difficult to change, like where the oil or gas is located. Dempsey says it’s often in remote places, “versus the urban centers where minorities — communities of color — tend to be and, frankly, where people from those communities tend to want to live and to work.”

Dempsey says the industry needs to do more to make rural places welcoming to women and minorities.

via Big Oil Has A Diversity Problem : NPR

Liberals’ judge selection has new bias, lawyers association says

Some valid concerns regarding diversity of experience and practice – in meeting the needs for  “identity” aspects of diversity, necessary to think also about these other aspects:

After appointing five women and no men to the bench in the Maritimes, the Liberal government is being told its commitment to diversity has a large blind spot – but not over the gender issue.

The Liberal government stressed diversity in launching a new process for appointing judges in October, 2016. For the first time, applicants are being asked about their race, gender identity, Indigenous status, sexual orientation and physical disability. Members of the committees that screen candidates are receiving training in “unconscious bias.”

Three of the five appointees in the Maritimes since then specialized in insurance law when they were lawyers, the Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association said in an open letter to federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould on Wednesday. And all three worked for the same regional law firm, Stewart McKelvey.

“Their background is representing insurance companies in personal injury claims against the average Joe,” said Brian Hebert, president of the Atlantic lawyers association. “We’re hoping this isn’t a trend.”

In Prince Edward Island, six of the eight sitting judges on the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal are from Stewart McKelvey. The Globe and Mail attempted to reach the managing partner of the firm’s Charlottetown office, and other managing partners, without success.

The Atlantic lawyers’ group represents plaintiffs in personal-injury cases – that is, individuals who in many cases sue insurance companies. “We represent the average person who has to fight insurance companies,” Mr. Hebert said.

“It’s a concern when we see judges being appointed from the same practice background, because we believe that as lawyers, we’re human, we’re influenced by our clients that we serve day-in, day-out, the culture of the firm that we’re in, the type of law that we practice.”

A spokesman for the Justice Minister said that only two of 12 judges appointed in Atlantic Canada since the Liberals took office in 2015 – a slightly different time-frame from the one referred to in the lawyers’ group letter – were, at the time of their appointment, with Stewart McKelvey.

“Minister Wilson-Raybould’s appointments in Atlantic Canada and throughout the country are based entirely on merit,” the spokesman, Dave Taylor, said in an e-mail.

“They respond to the needs of the courts, as identified through close consultation with Chief Justices. … The minister has been proud to appoint such outstanding candidates to the bench, as our government works toward building a judiciary that fully reflects the country it serves.”

Mr. Hebert said the appointees are highly qualified and he is not critical of the quality of appointments. Nor is his group critical of the lack of men appointed under the new process.

Christa Brothers, a former partner at Stewart McKelvey, was appointed to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in July; Tracey Clements, a partner at the same firm in Charlottetown, was named to the PEI Supreme Court in March; and Chantal Daigle, who chaired the recruitment office for the Saint John office of Stewart McKelvey from 2013-15, and who became a partner in 2004, was appointed last week to the Family Division of the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench, after a year as case management master of that same court.

The other two appointees were not from law firms. One was a long-time provincial court judge promoted to the appeal court in Nova Scotia and the other was a lawyer from the Antigonish Legal Aid Office named to Nova Scotia’s Supreme Court.

“The reason we want women on the bench,” Mr. Hebert said, “is so that when women’s issues are before the court, or when women appear in court, there is a balancing of views. Same thing with race or other areas where we would want diversity. What we’re saying is the same considerations apply when you’re talking about the professional background of lawyers that are on the bench. There has to be a balance between the large-firm, insurance defence lawyers and other lawyers who are fighting for the rights of plaintiffs.”

In its letter, the association said a more diverse judiciary will bring “varied perspectives to the development of the law and the concept of justice itself.” 

Source: Liberals’ judge selection has new bias, lawyers association says – The Globe and Mail

‘Sunshine’ approach to diversity in federal public service working, [Policy Options] study says

Toronto Star article (excerpt) based on my Policy Options article, Diversity in the public service’s executive ranks:

An employment equity regimen that relies on public disclosure rather than a mandatory quota system seems to have improved representation from women, visible minorities and Indigenous people in the public service, according to a new study.

Women now make up 54.4 per cent of federal government employees while visible minorities and Indigenous people account for 14.5 per cent and 5.2 per cent of the workforce, respectively, according to the report by the Institute for Research on Public Policy.

The latest government statistics say 50.4 per cent of Canada’s population are women, 20 per cent are visible minorities, and 4 per cent are Indigenous. The Canadian government defines visible minorities as non-white people other than Indigenous people.

Under the Employment Equity Act, the federal government is obligated to report annually on diversity within the government and in the federally regulated private sector.

The growth has been steady for both women and Indigenous people, who started at 46.1 per cent and 2 per cent respectively in 1993 when data became available, said report author Andrew Griffith.

And the almost quadrupling of representation for visible minorities from a mere 3.8 per cent in 1993 was remarkable, he noted.

“The transparency, sunshine-law approach and the politics of shame has shifted the representation of public services by a remarkable extent,” said Griffith, a retired director-general with the Immigration Department and now an independent policy analyst specializing multiculturalism and diversity.

“The organic and uncontroversial approach may have worked better than a quota system that would have created more resistance and tension.” 

Source: ‘Sunshine’ approach to diversity in federal public service working, study says | Toronto Star

Square and Pinterest’s newly released employment data reveals a lack of diversity in top ranks – Recode

More tech industry numbers:

Square, a rising payments company, had only one person of color — an Asian man — in its 11-member executive ranks as of last year, according to newly available data.

Founded and run by Jack Dorsey, the company has a market value of $12.5 billion and had a total net revenue of $1.7 billion last year.

At another end of Silicon Valley, four of the eight executives at social media company Pinterest were people of color — two Asian males and a man and woman each of two or more races.

23andMe, a DNA testing company, was the only firm of approximately 20 top tech companies that have recently released such data that had an executive lineup near gender parity. Eight of its 17 top employees were women. Even so, only one of the 17 was a minority.

The lack of diversity among the upper ranks of these companies is consistent with other tech companies, and highlights the ongoing issue within Silicon Valley of bringing in leadership that isn’t white and male.

This new data comes from an ongoing project by the nonprofit Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. The project aims to create transparency about gender and race among Silicon Valley companies

The study shows for the first time the diversity stats for seven Bay Area tech companies: Square, Pinterest, 23andMe, Clover Health, MobileIron, Nvidia and View.

Using the data collected by Reveal, Recode looked at the top ranks of tech companies that have made their government diversity data public. We analyzed the racial and gender composition of executives or senior level managers, defined as people who “direct and formulate policies, set strategy and provide the overall direction,” according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (Note: The Reveal data and analysis doesn’t include the Seattle-based Amazon, but we’ve added it in. We left out Clover Health from our analysis due to a possible mistake in their data.)

The data from these companies reflect the lack of racial and gender diversity elsewhere in Silicon Valley.

Twitter, for example, had no blacks or Latinos among its 47 executives. Of Amazon’s 105 executives in 2016, just one was Latino and none were black.

Facebook’s 496 executives were some of the most diverse, with 7 percent, or 35 people from underrepresented minorities, specifically executives who are not white or Asian.

Companies with more than 100 employees are required by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to fill out an annual survey that identifies the race and gender of their employees in 10 different employment categories, from laborers to chief executives.

Source: Square and Pinterest’s newly released employment data reveals a lack of diversity in top ranks – Recode

Tech’s Troubling New Trend: Diversity Is in Your Head – The New York Times

While agree that racial, gender and religious diversity will not necessarily result in cognitive diversity (minorities may conform to the dominant workplace culture), Williams is right to note that it could be used as a smokescreen:

Discussing her work at Apple at an event last week about fighting racial injustice, Denise Young Smith, the company’s vice president of diversity and inclusion, said, “There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blond men in a room and they’re going to be diverse, too, because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.”

That’s right: a dozen white men, so long as they were not raised in the same household and don’t think identical thoughts, could be considered diverse. After a furor erupted, Ms. Smith clarified her comments in an email to her team that was obtained and published by TechCrunch. It reads in part, “Understanding that diversity includes women, people of color, L.G.B.T.Q. people, and all underrepresented minorities is at the heart of our work to create an environment that is inclusive of everyone,” and “I regret the choice of words I used to make this point.”

But Ms. Smith wasn’t the first to endorse the view in her initial statement. Those of us in the tech industry know that the idea of “cognitive diversity” is gaining traction among leaders in our field. In too many cases, this means that, in the minds of those with influence over hiring, the concept of diversity is watered down and reinterpreted to encompass what Silicon Valley has never had a shortage of — individual white men, each with their unique thoughts and ideas. This shift creates a distraction from efforts to increase the race and gender diversity the tech industry is sorely lacking.

This overlaps with the sentiments expressed in a screed by a Google software engineer that critiqued the company’s race and gender diversity efforts and ascribed the unequal representation of women in tech to “biological causes.” It included the line, “Viewpoint diversity is arguably the most important type of diversity.”

If our focus shifts to cognitive diversity, it could provide an easy way around doing the hard work of increasing the embarrassingly low numbers of blacks and Latinos in the ranks of employees, in leadership roles, as suppliers and vendors, and on boards. The leadership of Apple, where Ms. Smith works, was only 3 percent black and 7 percent Hispanic in 2016. A recent report by Recode found that women made up at most 30 percent of leadership roles and no more than 27 percent of technical roles at major tech companies. The percentages of black and Latino employees in leadership was even more dismal, ranging from 4 percent to 10 percent.

The shift toward focusing on viewpoint or cognitive diversity may trace its roots back to the 1978 Supreme Court decision Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, which set the stage for schools to consider race in admissions because of the educational benefits of diversity, rather than to redress prior discrimination. It is understandable that because the public discourse around affirmative action shifted along these lines, some came to believe that any kind of diversity — including cognitive diversity — must be equally valuable. But that means that the most meaningful ways through which this is formed (cultural, religious, sexual orientation, socioeconomic, ability and especially gender and racial differences) may be forgotten.

If this happens, we could lose an important check on the tendency of people who work at tech companies to hire more people like themselves. According to the Society for Human Resources Management, employee referrals accounted for over 30 percent of all hires in 2016. Employees typically recommend people similar to them in racial identity and gender, so it requires dedicated effort to recruit and hire people who don’t already have identities that match up with those of current employees. Counting up variations of “viewpoints” — however one might do so — won’t achieve that. And, to potential applicants from underrepresented groups, statements about “cognitive diversity” will send an unwelcoming message about a company’s real priorities for inclusion.

As my former Facebook colleague Regina Dugan said recently, even if cognitive diversity is a company’s ultimate goal, “we can’t step away from the idea that diversity also looks like identity diversity.” The effort to hire people with different points of view must not come at the expense of hiring members of actual underrepresented communities who add tangible, bottom-line value — and who deserve to work in tech as much as anyone.

Ms. Smith said in the email clarifying her remarks, “Our commitment at Apple to increasing racial and gender diversity is as strong as it’s ever been.” That kind of diversity — the old-fashioned kind, that still remains elusive — is what I hope my industry won’t abandon.

Diversity in the public service’s executive ranks

My latest, looking at how women, visible minorities and Indigenous people are represented in the highest ranks of the federal public service (DMs and EXs).

The following two charts summarize the historical evolution of how transparency and regular reporting have resulted in a more diverse public service at the overall and executive levels:

Source: Diversity in the public service’s executive ranks

MacArthur Fellow Wanted To See If A Radio Soap In Rwanda Could Make People More Tolerant : NPR

Another part of the toolkit, using popular culture to affect change:

What will it take for the people of this world to drop their prejudices, to move past intolerance — and just get along?

That’s a question Princeton psychologist Betsy Levy Paluck — one of the 24 MacArthur Fellows announced on Wednesday — has dedicated her career to answering.

Back in 2002, when Paluck was a graduate student at Yale University, her adviser asked: “What does psychology say about how to reduce prejudice and conflict?” She and her adviser were teaching a class about hate speech and political intolerance, and he wanted to give students examples of ways to counteract those things.

Paluck searched and searched. And she drew a blank. “There actually weren’t any rigorous studies looking at solutions.”

So she designed one herself, looking to see if a radio soap opera could help bridge the divides in post-genocide Rwanda.

We asked Paluck about her research, as well as her plans for the $625,000 “genius grant” from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (which is among NPR’s financial supporters).

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Through the course of your research, you’ve worked with some deeply divided societies — including post-genocide Rwanda, where members of the country’s Hutu majority had slaughtered 800,000 minority Tutsis. What did you learn there about how to re-unite such a fragmented society?

Something my adviser and I were teaching in that class at Yale was the Rwandan genocide and particularly the media’s involvement in directing and inciting violence during the genocide. That’s when I came across this radio soap opera that was basically trying to do the flip side.

In other words, to make peace? How did you proceed?

I called them up and I said: Can I help study the effects of your program?

I went to Rwanda interested in just looking at how people understood messages that come through pop culture and mass media.

I set up a study where I randomized exposure — so some people heard [New Dawn], a soap about a divided society that ultimately reconciles. And others listened to a different soap about health and HIV.

People loved New Dawn — people were so engaged. They thought of these characters as representatives of Rwandans like themselves.

What I found was they were aware of the social messages that were coming through this radio program — and they would often disagree with them.

In the soap, there’s an interethnic relationship between a man and a woman from different communities [the story didn’t refer to Hutus and Tutsis directly]. It’s this Romeo and Juliet story, but instead of meeting untimely deaths they start a peaceful revolution.

And people would say, “This is clearly something that Rwandans are into. They’re into this relationship on the soap. I may not personally believe in letting my daughter marry someone from the other ethnicity, but I’m going to let her — because that’s what we as Rwandans are doing now.”

So I found that people’s behavior changed even when their personal beliefs stayed the same.

And that’s what you published in your 2009 study in the American Political Science Review. You found that both groups — those who watched New Dawn and those who watched the other soap — overwhelmingly agreed that there was mistrust in their community. But in discussion groups, those who watched New Dawn were more likely to suggest or support efforts to welcome newcomers and work together to solve local problems.

We’re not lemmings — we’re not conformists. But we really don’t want to seem wrong or odd to other people. When other people’s ideas of what’s right and wrong change, or their rules about how you can be change, that makes a big difference.

I’ve been really interested in this idea: That how we behave is actually much more influenced by what other people think than by our own personal ideas. I think everybody’s had the experience of doing something because they thought it was expected of them.

There’s no more powerful example of this than Rwandans describing what the violence was like. Many of them said, “Before the genocide we didn’t hate our Tutsi neighbors. But after the genocide started, it was like violence was the law.”

In come cases that was literally true. Some people were being recruited by authorities to incite violence. But when people said violence was law, they meant something more. They meant that it was a social law.

Who sets these social norms?

Based on our findings, I think at times mass media and popular culture can do that. Government policies can do that as well. Recently, we studied a U.S. Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage, and we found that after the Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, people were more likely to think that other Americans supported same-sex marriage even if their personal beliefs didn’t change.

Your research looks at how people can use mass media to change how people think. Is there a dark side to that proposition?

I’ve had people say to me, “Aren’t people going to take your findings and use them for evil purposes?” And my response is they’re already doing that. There’s negative media, there’s propaganda. There are people advocating for really negative causes.

I’m interested in whether we can respond to that: Can you use those same tools to diminish conflict?

Is that what you plan to do with your MacArthur grant money?

It’s still early, but I have two goals.

One goal is to find creative ways to promote collaboration between activists, NGOs and social scientists. It’s hard for activists to take a break from what we’re doing to evaluate — are we doing this in the best way? Social scientists are answering those kinds of questions. Perhaps NGOs could have social-scientist-in-residence programs, the same way that many universities have artist in residence programs.

I also want to promote and train the next generation of scholars to do this kind of work.

What got you interested in fighting intolerance in the first place?

I was raised by parents who were deeply interested in social justice. And it never really occurred to me that that shouldn’t play into the kinds of research that I do.

Source: MacArthur Fellow Wanted To See If A Radio Soap In Rwanda Could Make People More Tolerant : Goats and Soda : NPR

Why Canada’s political pipeline leaves little room for anyone but white men

Good study by Erin Tolley (disclosure: know Erin from our time together at CIC/IRCC and we remain in contact):

For women, the toughest hurdle is at the nomination level, the first checkpoint into the political realm.

Racialized minorities come up against barriers further along, beginning at the candidate selection stage.

That’s according to Erin Tolley, who teaches political science at the University of Toronto.

Tolley is among the first to map the race and gender of more than 800 people vying for a political party’s nomination ahead of the 2015 vote in 136 of the country’s most diverse ridings, where racialized minorities make up at least 15 per cent of the population, half of which are in Ontario. (Her tally uses Statistics Canada’s definition of “visible minority” and therefore does not include Indigenous nomination contestants or candidates.)

Wannabe politicians must first successfully compete for their choice party’s nomination in order to become the candidate in an election.

Though Tolley’s project is still in the works, early findings suggest political parties aren’t doing enough to diversify the pool of candidates.

“The dynamics for women and racialized minorities are different,” she said. “That’s important for parties to know because they therefore need to have different strategies if they want to attract and want to run women or racialized minority candidates.”

Women make up 52 per cent of the population, but only accounted for 33 per cent of nomination contestants across those 136 ridings. The proportion of female election candidates ticked up slightly, to 36 per cent, and 31 per cent of elected MPs in those districts were women.

That suggests women are less likely to throw their hat in the ring, but once they do, they fare well.

“Maybe women don’t want to run, they don’t want to be called ‘Barbies,’ for example,” Tolley said, citing veteran MP Gerry Ritz’s now-deleted and apologized-for recent tweet that referred to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna as “climate Barbie.”

Tolley put the onus on political parties.

“Political parties don’t do sufficient work to identify women candidates and encourage them to run,” she said. “Frankly, not enough fingers are pointed at political parties. We don’t need to change the electoral system to get women into politics. All parties need to do is nominate more women. It’s actually pretty simple.”

Racialized minorities don’t experience the same obstacle.

According to the data, minorities declare their candidacy in proportions that match their presence in the population. However, by the time Canadians go to the polls the share of MPs of colour is far below that.

“They want to be nomination contestants, but then the party is less likely to select them, and voters are even less likely to select them,” Tolley said.

Across the 136 ridings, racialized minorities comprised 38 per cent of the population and 37 per cent of nomination contestants. That dwindled to 33 per cent of election candidates, and to 29 per cent of MPs — an eight-point gap between the number of hopeful nominees and those who won a seat on the Hill.

A contributing factor is one Tolley has previously explored — that minority candidates tend to compete against each other in battleground districts.

That’s because racialized minorities are more likely to run, and win, in more diverse ridings, Tolley said. For instance, three candidates of colour may vie for their party’s nomination in an ethnically-rich district, and split the ballot.

“So, you have this big pool of people who are interested, but they’re competing against each other, essentially cancelling each other out — and that’s happening at each level,” she explained.

As for white men, their political possibilities widen.

Thirty-nine per cent of nomination contestants in those diverse ridings were white men, and they comprised 40 per cent of candidates on the ticket. Nearly half, 48.5 per cent, of those who won a seat were white males.

Source: Why Canada’s political pipeline leaves little room for anyone but white men | Toronto Star

Pluralism is a path to lasting peace and prosperity: Outgoing Governor General Johnston

Well stated:

A predecessor, Vincent Massey, once said: “Canada is not a melting pot. Canada is an association of peoples who have, and cherish, great differences but who work together because they can respect themselves and each other.” Today we call this pluralism, and I believe Canada’s opportunity lies in its ability to show the world how pluralism is a viable path to lasting peace and prosperity. Canada is a social innovation, a constantly evolving work-in-progress based upon the notion that diverse peoples can live and work together toward an ever-more inclusive, fair and just society.

Of course, we have no cause for complacency. Intolerance does exist here and it is essential that we resist efforts to reduce diversity and restrict inclusiveness. Canada’s progress as a country has always grown from a commitment to diversity, inclusiveness and pluralism. Success in such a vast, diverse and challenging land requires that we work together. This is the story of our country and it’s important that we know and understand its uniqueness, significance and how embedded the principles of partnership and compromise are in the very fabric of Canada. This is the path forward.

There are two related, critical elements that Canada should pay close attention to in the years to come: learning and trust. As a lifelong student and teacher, I believe education is the key to ensuring equality of opportunity for all Canadians and to achieving the pinnacles of excellence that allow us to innovate and lead in a technologically advanced world. From early-childhood education and literacy to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to research at the outer limits of knowledge, we must make learning a central part of our lives. Doing so will reinforce the second critical element – trust – by which I mean trust in one another and in the institutions which are the glue that binds Canadians together. Inequalities and the rapid changes brought about by globalization have undermined trust in Canada and throughout much of the world, but a society that learns and works together in an inclusive manner will see the basis for that sense of mistrust replaced by a sense of hope.

So, what have I learned as Governor-General? One, while Canada still has much work to do in building a more inclusive society, our diversity is a strength and a comparative advantage in the world. Two, in Canada, past, present and no doubt future, we’re stronger and more prosperous when we compromise and work together. And three, despite our many cultures, ethnic origins and languages spoken, we all have a great deal in common – a great deal called Canada. Let this be a country that draws on the diverse talents and abilities of all its peoples in steering a course through this complex, changing world.

Source: Pluralism is a path to lasting peace and prosperity – The Globe and Mail