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Hill Life & People

Financial portfolios still ‘a man’s world’ on Parliament Hill

By Samantha Wright Allen      

Former staffers say more women should be hired in economic files, and that an analysis of the data shows a clear gap exists among cabinet staff and PMO.

From left, men in Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s office serve as chief of staff, budget director, and director of communications, with a woman deputy chief of staff and director of parliamentary affairs. Aside from Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains' communications director, three of four directors are men. Between the offices of Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Minister of International Trade François-Philippe Champagne, all directors are men save for Ms. Freeland’s director of operations. Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos' senior staff were all men. In every case, with the exception of Treasury Board and Natural Resources, chiefs of staff and directors of ministers' offices were more than 60 per cent male. The Hill Times file photographs and photographs by Andrew Meade
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Women remain underrepresented in economic and finance ministers’ offices, a political sphere that former cabinet staff say continues to be an “old boys’ club” and especially unavailable to women at the senior level. Long before and after Michele Austin worked as a chief of staff to Conservative minister Rona Ambrose, she noticed women weren’t in finance files. “Prime ministers, no matter what their party, turn a blind eye to putting women in charge of economic portfolios federally,” she

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