London's got girl power!
By Sara Marett
The votes are in and the results show London will soon boast two females at its helm as Mayor Dianne Haskett was overwhelmingly re-elected and Anne Marie DeCicco slid easily into the deputy mayor position.
"I don't recall London ever having both a female mayor and deputy mayor," said Ross Gibbons, a political science lecturer on municipal government at Western.
Monday's municipal election saw Anne Marie DeCicco win her Board of Control seat with 74,133 votes and second-place controller Orlando Zamprogna gaining 55,763. Haskett received 61,658 votes, twice as many as her opponent Grant Hopcroft.
Haskett said she has already received some negative comments about the fact that both mayor and deputy mayor are female. "I think that's all they are chauvinistic comments." There is still some fascination in the public when females are in the political realm, but I think the electorate tends to favour female candidates when voting, she added.
Anne Marie DeCicco said she and Haskett were chosen because they are the best people to do the job, not because they are female.
Ross said he thinks the increased representation of women in municipal government is long overdue and pointed out the newly elected board of control now boasts an even number of males and females, which is a sign of progress.
"Overall I think women are still under-represented in politics across the board," Ross said, citing Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's attempts last spring to ensure 25 per cent of his Members of Parliament were female.
"Being female is only the beginning of the challenge it's about leadership, which obviously they have both displayed," said Sara Steers, president of Western's Caucus on Women's Issues.
She added female politicians are often followed more closely by the public and the media than their male counterparts. "Every one of [Haskett and DeCicco's] steps will attract more attention, particularly if they foul up."
One real advantage of the DeCicco-Haskett pairing is they have a great admiration and respect for each other as they have known each other for six years as a team, Haskett said. "There's many things we disagree on, but there's a lot of good will between us.
"If I had the right to choose a deputy mayor I would choose Anne Marie."
DeCicco said she was not surprised by Haskett's overwhelming win, as she witnessed support for Haskett during her own campaign.