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Word Count: 1,389
Since the success of the Womens Suffrage movement that occurred between 1880-1920 the second wave of the womens movement has become a central focus of analysis and debate Although female representation has gradually improved over the past 50 years an unbalanced proportionate of power for women involved within Canadian political structures continues to be a reality Women constitute over half of the Canadian electorate yet they account for less than one-quarter of Canadian legislators Cabinet ministers senior government officials and judges Moreover the majority of female politicians subject to a notable few continue to be concentrated in particular areas of policy considered to be the logical extension of traditional feminine concerns health welfare education culture the family and consumer affairs Although these areas of soft politics offer women the opportunity to influence public policy they more often lead to dead ends for the possible ascendancy of female legislators into positions concerning economic and foreign affairs By contrast male elites specialize in more prestigious fields of finance justice treasury industry and trade These stereotypically masculine fields allow male politicians to ascend in political power and influence In doing so they indirectly overwhelm the majority of females attempts to break into and progress in a political institution that is predominately male Despite these unique obstacles female groups both internally and externally continue to advocate and reinforce efforts to put more women in senior positions In addition as the political landscape continues to change parties are beginning to embrace the image of change and renewal associated with female political representation Although these are positive improvements the continued overall effect of the numerical under-representation on Canadian women is negative Women are still viewed as a novelty which is reflected in the medias superficial portrayal of female politicians as well as in their treatment by their male colleagues in the House of Commons The struggle continues a struggle for equality and balanced representation in Canadian politics Female participation in Canadian
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