This podcast series follows the political journeys of Canada’s 13 female first ministers. Starting in childhood and finishing with retirement, we explore their most challenging and rewarding career moments and how gender played an important role in both the highs and the lows. Our findings reveal more than just personal anecdote, they provide a glimpse into larger societal trends about how women are treated in Canadian politics.
Episode 1The Problem
In this episode, host Kate Graham looks at the experiences of women in politics – then and now. To set the scene, she speaks with: veteran journalists Robert Fife and Susan Delacourt, former federal Conservative Party leader Rona Ambrose, current Green Party leader Elizabeth May, and University of Toronto Professor Dr. Sylvia Bashevkin.
Episode 5Last Woman Standing: An Alberta Election Special
In this episode, we take a break from our series on Canada’s female first ministers for a special discussion focused on the 2019 Alberta general election. Premier Rachel Notley is quite literally the last woman standing when it comes to Canada’s female First Ministers, and the election outcome will be historic, one way or another.
Episode 6Stepping Into The Ring
Running in a leadership race isn’t for the faint of heart. There are upsides, like working to make a difference in the lives of constituents, and there are downsides, like opening yourself up to fierce criticism. What compelled these twelve women to take the leap? What was the experience like?
Episode 8Things Fall Apart
Female first ministers in Canada tend to last about half as long as men. They reach the top only to fall back down, often because they enter into their roles when chances of failure are highest. In this episode, we explore what happened when things took a turn for the worse.
Episode 9What Doesn’t Kill You by No Second Chances
Canada’s female first ministers have weathered the rise and fall of Canadian politics – and emerged from it as changed people. What has post-politics life looked like for these women? What did they learn during their time in office that paved the way for what came next? Most importantly, what do they want to see for the future of women in Canadian politics?
Episode 10Consensus in the North, with Eva Aariak and Nellie Cournoyea
Two of these stories are not like the others. Eva Aariak and Nellie Cournoyea are both Indigenous women, leading within consensus-style governments. In this episode, host Kate Graham examines whether this political environment is more conducive to women’s leadership.
Episode 11And Then There Were None, with Rachel Notley
Rachel Notley made history when she was elected as the 17th Premier of Alberta in 2015, leading the province’s first New Democratic Party government after four decades of Progressive Conservative rule. In the 2019 Alberta election, Notley became the most recent female First Minister to not be given a second chance, losing to Jason Kenney’s United Conservatives. Notley now serves as the Leader of the Official Opposition – and she’s got quite a story to tell.
Episode 12Finale, Part 1: Setting The Stage
Episode 12Finale, Part 2: Women In Leadership Roles
The first panel of the day was moderated by Huffington Post Ottawa Bureau Chief Althia Raj, and included input from former Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Kathy Dunderdale, former Premier of the Yukon, Pat Duncan, and former Premier of Alberta, Rachel Notley. The panelists spoke about what led them to run for political office, the roadblocks that prevent women from running – including the vitriol on social media targeted specifically at women – and the need for greater diversity in legislatures across Canada.
Episode 12Finale, Part 3: Women In Politics
The second panel of the day was moderated by filmmaker and President of Komal Minhas Inc., Komal Minhas, and included input from former Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, former Premier of Alberta, Alison Redford, and former Premier of P.E.I Catherine Callbeck. The panelists spoke about what it was like when there were six female premiers in Canada, what still gives them hope about women’s place in politics, and how they got up after the fall.
Episode 12Finale, Part 4: Towards Gender Equality in Canada
Introduced by longtime political commentator Steve Paikin, former Prime Minister Kim Campbell spoke about her short but impactful time in Canada’s highest political rank, what life looked like after leaving, and what keeps her hopeful about seeing the next female prime minister in Canada.