Women’s Access to Cabinets in Canada: Assessing the Role of Some Institutional Variables

Manon Tremblay


Only recently have women been recruited to serve in Canadian cabinets, and their presence in these bodies remains marginal, although it is progressing steadily. This article has the objective to examine the role of some institutional variables on women’s access to federal and provincial cabinets in Canada, from 1984 to the end of 2007. Six hypotheses are tested exploring the following independent variables: the overall proportion of female legislators versus the proportion of women within the government caucus only; the region; the majority or minority status of the government; the change (or lack of change) of government following a general election; the size of the cabinet; and, the political party that forms the government. The overall pro-portion of women legislators and notably, their proportion within the government caucus both exert an almost monopolistic influence on the feminization rate of cabinets. In addition, the results invite to qualify the idea which suggests that the higher a political role, the harder it is for women to attain.


Canada; women cabinet ministers;

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@Canadian Political Science Review (CPSR). ISSN 1911-4125