The Canadian territory which had the lowest proportion of women in its legislature now tops the list for female representation after Tuesday’s elections.
Nine women will go to Yellowknife, capital of the Northwest Territories, as of results that came in late Tuesday. Only two women joined the 19-person territorial government in 2015.
“It’s crazy to go from the worst representation to the best,” Katrina Nokleby, one of multiple newcomers who beat a male competitor in the election, said in an interview on Wednesday. “I’m part of this amazing wave of change.”
She decided to run for office after attending workshops to educate women about how to campaign, months before the election. She said she hopes the new government will focus on social issues including sexual assault and addiction in northern communities.
“It makes a huge difference for how policy will be developed,” said Caroline Cochrane, one of the two women elected in 2015 and re-elected this year, describing herself as “ecstatic” that so many other women will join her this time.
The territory, with about 44,000 residents spread out over more than 1.1 million km (683,508 miles), uses a consensus government system and each candidate runs as an independent. The elected representatives will choose a premier among themselves in the next few weeks.
(This story changes the headline to Northwest Territories from Northern Territories; clarifies in third paragraph that Nokleby did not beat an incumbent as previously stated.)