#ASKHERTORUN - Ask her why she doesn't run: Gender discrimination and the barrier to woman in politics

Jessica attended the 2017 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women 61st session where she represented Victoria University. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Law/Art.


This paper will review the social and political barriers that prevent women from running for public office. Despite the considerable traction, the gender equality movement has amassed in the past century, the fact that women hold only 22% of parliamentary seats worldwide demonstrates the disproportionate representation in key political leadership roles (UN Women, 2016). This was perhaps best emphasised through the 2015 ‘Invite Her to Run’ campaign initiated by now- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who, on the finding that a woman is 50% less likely to run for public office than a male counterpart, sought to establish a grassroots campaign encouraging female candidates (Liberal Party of Canada, 2016). Although concerning, it is not surprising that such a campaign (and further campaigns) are required nearly 100 years after women received the right to vote, when female trailblazers have been subjected to skewed media representation and the political status quo. This paper will argue that only media accountability, female leadership and mentorship program and the recreation of both the political and institutional status quo will alleviate some of this disparity.

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