We need to start by talking about the disparities in our RCMs. We have RCMs and towns with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants. On these town councils, the mentalities are often very masculine. Women don't feel like they have a place on these councils. When women do want to carve out a space, they are given files that are often managed by women.
When it comes to women's participation in politics, small municipalities have not yet made the same advances. Let us take as an example the region of Quebec City, which includes Quebec and L'Ancienne-Lorette. In Quebec City, there is a good level of representation by women.
On the other hand, we must recall that mayoral candidates also have a lot to do with this. Some mayors feel that recruiting women is very important. They take the time to meet with us and to meet with the Conseil du statut de la femme. They look for possible solutions, and that shows a real openness.
However, I would say that in Quebec, small municipalities and RCMs play a large role in representation. That is where we need to change a few points so that women can understand that they have a role to play.
We also need to help these women develop capacity. Over the last three years, things have gotten worse. One of our problems is that women who are elected end up becoming discouraged and get tired of constantly fighting the very masculine mentalities on the council. They decide to throw in the towel and go back home.
Thus, we need to help these women and provide them with a network. As was mentioned earlier, they often don't have the network, and we need to provide one for them.
In these municipalities, councillors receive a yearly income from $8,000 to $18,000, as was mentioned earlier. This is why the positions are often filled by retired women, but rarely by young women.