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Dion is the first of the 11 leadership contenders to advance a detailed plan for achieving gender equity in Parliament. Canada currently ranks 45th in the world in terms of female representation in national legislatures, with only 20 per cent of the current 308 MPs being women.
As a start on improving that dismal record, Dion promised to ensure at least 33 per cent of Liberal candidates in the next election will be women and to increase their representation in every subsequent election until 50 per cent is achieved. In last winter's election about 25 per cent of Liberal candidates were women.
Dion also pledged that no riding would be allowed to stage a nomination contest until it could demonstrate it had seriously tried to recruit at least one female contender. This is the same process followed by the NDP, which consistently produces more female candidates in elections than the other parties.