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A Federation of Canadian Municipalities event focusing on women in municipal politics highlighted just how big the gender gap is – and celebrated the women who are helping close it.

The breakfast, held during the federation’s annual conference, was sponsored by the Canadian Labour Congress.

The statistics on women in municipal politics speak volumes. Only 15 per cent of mayors across the country, and just under a quarter of the country’s municipal councilors, are women. That works out to just 23 per cent overall.

Former New Glasgow mayor and FCM past president Anne MacLean called the lack of women a “democratic deficit.” MacLean was honoured at the breakfast for spearheading the FCM’s work to elect more women.

The FCM has a plan to increase the number of locally-elected women to 30 per cent by 2026.

Our country will be a better place when there are more women in politics at all levels,” said CLC secretary-treasurer Hassan Yussuf, as he presented a $5,000 donation to an FCM scholarship fund encouraging more women to run for public office.

Yussuf linked the struggle to elect more women with a broader equality agenda that includes pay equity and a national child care program.

Caribbean Association of Local Government Authorities president April Crowther-Gow said local government, which is only 13 years old  in her country, “is one of the most revolutionary systems of government”.

Crowther-Gow, who is the first female CALGA president, said women run for office because they can “offer something that matters, and want to be part of something that matters.”

The breakfast also honoured long-time Vancouver municipal politician May Brown.

The FCM campaign is using social media including a Facebook group and Twitter  to network and share information.