While more women were elected to serve as members of New Brunswick's Legislative Assembly in Monday's provincial election, Beth Lyons, the executive director of the New Brunswick Women's Council says they still only make up less than 30 per cent of the total number of elected MLAs.
"It's always great to see that there are more women elected, that's a number that we definitely want to see trend upward," said Lyons about the 14 women who were chosen to represent their respective ridings..
The women elected include nine with the Progressive Conservative Party, three with the Liberal Party and one each for the People's Alliance and the Green Party.
"It's important to frame that. Yes, these are gains but it's also still nowhere near seeing women at maybe that 50 per cent mark, which it would reflect the proportion of society that they make up."
But Lyons said she hopes having more women in government will help change things.
"Perhaps things will be more collaborative, less combative, but also what issues are being talked about, what's being prioritized."
Lyons said she wonders if the female MLAs will bring attention to issues like child care, pay equity, violence against women, and access to reproductive health services.
"Are we going to see more of a discussion of whether or not things like gender based analysis is being used in the public policy process?"
Lyons said there is no guarantee those issues will be brought up just because there are more female MLAs elected and added people have to remain vigilant to bring attention to the issues they're worried about.
Lyons said it was refreshing to hear Hearing that Premier Blaine Higgs was committed and keen to having parity in cabinet, and hoped it wasn't a 'quippy' answer on his part. .
"I mean, oftentimes when we start talking about parity, folks — even if not said — they hear the word quota and then immediately there's concern about, well, you know, only if folks are qualified.
"It's still heartening to hear."
Lyons said with 30 per cent of the government MLAs elected being women, it will be interesting to see how that changes things on the government side..
"Is it going to result in gender parity in cabinet? How is that going to shape government priorities?"
Lyons said she hopes more women will be involved at high levels of decision making in such things as the all-party cabinet committee that has been dealing with the pandemic response.