Monday, June 26, 2017

Edmonton City Council Gender Parity

Back in October I took a quick look at the success rates of female candidates getting into city council. In 2013, 22% of candidates were female, but only one out of the twelve council seats ended up being held by a woman. The aim of that post was to investigate some of the source of the gender disparity on council - namely whether the distribution of female candidates in different races was causing the issue, or whether there was an inherent bias against female candidates.

Ultimately, I determined that the relative lack of successful female council winners was more likely due to distribution of candidates across races than individual bias - without accounting for incumbency, there was no evidence of anything other than relative equal chances of winning between female and male candidates (i.e the number of female winners since 2004 is more or less what you'd expect assuming all candidates are equally likely to win).

That was a pretty positive sign, as it suggests that the biggest factor holding back a demographically-balanced council is the availability of under-represented candidates to run (which is totally outside of the scope of this blog to discuss), and perhaps more importantly, the avoidance of clumping of under-represented demographics into the same few races.

One of the biggest issues with the 2013 election was that five wards had no women running at all, and half of all women were clustered into two ridings. This drastically reduced the expected number of women into council, regardless of the relative proportion of candidates who put their names forward.

So with all that said, I've been keeping track of candidates for the 2017 civic election which are being tracked at Daveberta. For each candidate, I've tried to ascertain their gender in order by how they refer to themselves (political candidates love speaking in the third person), or how they're referred to in third party posts, and if all else fails by name and presentation assumptions. If you notice any errors, please let me know.

(Last updated July 14, 2017)

Based on the current 56 candidates, 21 are female and 35 are male (female ratio of 37.5%, up from 22% in 2013). However, based on the distribution between wards, an expected 4.03 seats will be won by female candidates, which could be considered a relatively inefficient allocation of seats based on the ratio of candidates. wards have no women running at all, and Ward 5 on its own has nearly a quarter of all female candidates.

Overall, it's most likely that the number of female councillors after the election will be between 2 and 6 (90% confidence).

Edmonton Council (38% female candidates)

Edmonton Catholic School Board (75% female candidates)

Edmonton Public School Board (43% female candidates)


I'll keep this updated as the campaign continues! Tune in for future updates. Again, this does not take into account extra factors such as experience or incumbency, and is only for entertainment purposes and whatnot.

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