As the first female mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante’s victory over Denis Coderre is nothing short of historic.
But Plante isn’t the only woman making Montreal a better city to live in. In actuality, there are more women than men in city hall.
The City of Montreal has 103 elected positions. Currently, women hold 53 of those seats while male politicians only hold 50, notes Le Devoir.
In contrast, the 2013 election had men taking up 58 city hall positions with women holding 45 seats.
Montreal, in the wake of the latest round of elections, is governed by more women than men.
Women are also more likely to hold the position of mayor within a borough. Out of Montreal’s 19 borough mayors, 8 are female. Before Sunday’s election, there were only 5 females serving as mayor of Montreal boroughs.
The increased presence of women in elected municipal government positions isn’t confined to Montreal. It’s happening across Quebec.
Percé, Saguenay, Rouyn-Noranda, and Brossard now all have women as acting mayors. And in terms of candidates for positions, 31% were women, up from 24% in 2005.
But while these numbers are uplifting, there is still a pretty large gender gap in municipal politics. Compared to provincial and federal politics, women are still underrepresented in municipal affairs in Quebec.
Experts say more work still needs to be done. Municipal politics has an air of “road and pipe management” says a researcher from the University of Ottawa, which may it seem unappealing to women.
Again, however, a change is occurring as more and more women enter municipal politics. Hopefully the trend continues, because (to rework words of our fair-haired Prime Minister) it’s 2017.
For more on women in municipal politics in Montreal and throughout Quebec, check out Le Devoir's feature on the topic here.