The New Brunswick Women’s Council sees the increasing number of women in positions of influence as a positive but thinks the issue should be considered more complex and beneficial than just evening out gender inequality.
Provincial government commitments to increase the number of women on provincial agencies, boards and commissions have resulted in 266 women being appointed since the Gallant government took office.
That makes up 57 per cent of all appointments, with 61 per cent of all appointments to chair positions going to women.
“Hopefully that’s going to translate into folks in sectors other than government observing that, learning from their example and hopefully changing their practices,” said New Brunswick Women’s Council Executive Director Beth Lyons. “So that they’re going to be doing better as far as women’s leadership is concerned.”
The New Brunswick Women’s Council applauds the government for moving in this direction but thinks increasing numbers is a far cry from fully addressing the issue.
“There are institutions that need to change, attitudes that need to change and a lot of that has to be done over time,” explained Lyons. “At the same time we can make huge gains by committing to good policies, by consulting with women, so it’s a balance.”
“Gender inequality is a beast of a problem,” said Lyons.
Closing the gender inequality gap as a priority for government is something Lyons believes is necessary, but she says the numbers often don’t paint the picture accurately.
Lyons would like to see strategic appointments, in particular those which break new ground, to not only balance numbers, but opinions as well.
“It’s not just about being able to report back that you have x percentage of women, it’s about how getting women in the room changes the conversation and strengthens the decision making and makes sure that decisions are being made by a group of people that actually reflects the population of our province.”