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More gender diverse candidates in upcoming provincial election

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A political expert says there is room to grow in Manitoba’s political sphere for gender diversity.

Renée Cable is running in the provincial election for the first time. Cable is a Manitoba NDP Candidate in the Southdale riding.

"It is time that we have real representation in all corners of society and I can’t wait to do it."

Roughly one third of all candidates running in the Manitoba provincial election are women or gender diverse.

Female or gender diverse candidates are running in 43 out of 57 ridings across the province. Chi Nguyen, executive director of Equal Voice, says it's a sign of progress.

"Manitoba is actually currently in 11th place in terms of territorial provincial numbers. Ahead of PEI and Newfoundland that means there's lots of room to grow," Nguyen said.

 Manitoba's NDP is running 28 female or gender diverse candidates.

'It hasn't been a linear process. Obviously there are traditionally and continue to be many barriers to women participating in public life,” said Cable.

Nguyen says part of those pressures include women's standards for themselves.

"We know that there is imposter syndrome that many people face, that certainly we know that women we speak to feel a lot of that,” Nguyen said.

The Manitoba PC Party has 17 women on their candidate roster.

Before the official campaign began, 26 per cent of seats in the Manitoba legislature were held by women - including PC Party Leader Heather Stefanson, the first woman to be named premier of Manitoba.

That inspired Kathleen Cook to run for office for the first time after dreaming of the job since childhood. She us running for the Manitoba PC Party in the Roblin riding, the seat of former House Speaker Myrna Driedger, who announced earlier this year she wouldn’t be running again.

"I’ve faced very little pushback over the fact that I’m a woman. I think that's great. It’s a sign of progress,” Cook said. "I would say there are certain types of criticism more levelled at women candidates that probably our male candidates don't get."

Cook says that can include criticisms about her appearance, something she says she pushes aside.

The Manitoba Liberal Party has 14 women on the ballot out of its 49 candidates. The Manitoba Green party is led by a woman - Janine Gibson - with five out of its 13 candidates being women or gender diverse.

Both Cable and Cook had backgrounds in politics before putting their name on the ballot. Both say they want to see more women in leadership positions in and outside of politics.

"It’s so important that women support other women,” Cable said.

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