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Do Women Get Fewer Votes? No.

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 September 2018

Semra Sevi*
Université de Montréal
Vincent Arel-Bundock
Université de Montréal
André Blais
Université de Montréal
*Corresponding author. E-mail:


We study data on the gender of more than 21,000 unique candidates in all Canadian federal elections since 1921, when the first women ran for seats in Parliament. This large data set allows us to compute precise estimates of the difference in the electoral fortunes of men and women candidates. When accounting for party effects and time trends, we find that the difference between the vote shares of men and women is substantively negligible (±0.5 percentage point). This gender gap was larger in the 1920s (±2.5 percentage points), but it is now statistically indistinguishable from zero. Our results have important normative implications: political parties should recruit and promote more women candidates because they remain underrepresented in Canadian politics and because they do not suffer from a substantial electoral penalty.


Nous analysons des données sur le genre de plus de 21 000 candidats à toutes les élections fédérales canadiennes depuis 1921, la première année où des femmes ont été candidates aux élections à la Chambre des Communes. Cette grande base de données nous permet d'estimer précisément la différence entre les résultats électoraux des candidates et des candidats. Si on tient compte des effets de partis et des tendances temporelles, on constate que la différence entre le vote pour les candidats masculins et féminins est substantivement négligeable (±0,5 point de pourcentage). Cet écart était plus important dans les années 1920 (± 2,5 points de pourcentage), mais il est aujourd'hui pratiquement nul. Nos résultats ont d’importantes implications sur le plan normatif : les partis politiques devraient recruter plus de candidates, puisque les femmes demeurent sous-représentées en politique canadienne et qu’elles ne souffrent pas d’une pénalité électorale.

Research Note/Notes de recherche
Copyright © Canadian Political Science Association (l'Association canadienne de science politique) and/et la Société québécoise de science politique 2018 

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Do Women Get Fewer Votes? No.
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