________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 1 . . . . September 8, 2000

cover Why Women Run.

Meredith Ralston (Director). Kent Martin & Michael Mahoney (Producers).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 1999.
46 min., 6 sec., VHS, $39.95.
Order Number: C9199 040.

Subject Headings:
Women politicians-Canada.
Women political candidates-Canada.
Women-Canada-Social conditions.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.

Review by Helen Norrie.

**** /4

By following the 1997 Federal election battle in Halifax between Mary Clancy, a two time Liberal incumbent, and Alexa McDonough, NDP candidate and national leader of her party, this documentary succeeds in giving a realistic picture of the trials and triumphs of women running for elected office. The cameras record not only the highlights of the campaign, such as McDonough's overwhelming and somewhat surprising victory, but also the low points, such as her poor performance in a pre-election debate or the day all the candidates had to wash cars for charity. There are candid and emotional moments, such as Mary Clancy's conceding defeat to her rival. Replying to a reporter's question, "Why are you doing this?" Clancy gave the simple, tearful response, "It's what you do!" The video remains politically neutral and does not give more or better coverage to one candidate over the other.
    Why Women Run also attempts to analyze the reasons why more women don't enter the political arena and comes up with some convincing answers: care of children; lack of money; reluctance to speak in public; unwillingness to be away from home. Another disadvantage touched upon is the unfair coverage often afforded women by the media which, for instance, comments on female politicians' appearance and wardrobe rather than their policies or performance.
    This video would be good to show to students who are studying or interested in elections or the parliamentary system. It could provoke valuable debate on the role of women in politics and their contribution and special challenges. It is also a valuable lesson on how political campaigns work, and, since it is an intimate portrait of a woman who is still a national leader, it would be a valuable addition to a class in political science.

Highly Recommended.

Helen Norrie is a lecturer in Children's Literature at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba. She has also had considerable experience with election campaigns as her husband ran six times for Mayor of Winnipeg and was elected five times.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364