Gender, municipal party politics, and Montreal’s first woman mayor


  • Erin Tolley Department of Political Science, Carleton University
  • Mireille Paquet Department of Political Science, Concordia University


Local elections, Mayors, Political parties, Gender


In 2017, Montreal elected Valérie Plante, the first woman mayor in the city’s 400-year history. Using this election as a case study, we show how gender did and did not influence the outcome. A survey of Montreal electors suggests that gender was not a salient factor in vote choice. Although gender did not matter much for voters, it did shape the organization of the campaign and party. We argue that Plante’s victory can be explained in part by a strategy that showcased a less leader-centric party and a degendered campaign that helped counteract stereotypes about women’s unsuitability for positions of political leadership.