Halifax Needham MLA Maureen MacDonald waves to supporters as she arrives at the NDP campaign party at the Dartmouth Holiday Inn Tuesday night. MacDonald won the riding for the fifth time and is the longest serving female MLA in the province.

Maureen MacDonald calls it “making slow progress.”

The longest serving female MLA in the Nova Scotia legislature was one of a record 12 women to be elected in Tuesday’s election.

MacDonald posted a runaway win in her riding of Halifax Needham for a fifth straight victory. She was also one of nine female NDP candidates to come out on top.

The Liberals elected two women Tuesday, and the Progressive Conservatives one.

“I wish it was a little bit more because I still think we’re considerably underrepresented,” MacDonald said yesterday. “But we’re making progress and heading in the right direction. We’ll just have to keep working at it.”

In the 2006 provincial election, a then-record nine women were elected for a gender representation of 17 per cent. After Tuesday’s results, that number jumps to 23 per cent, slightly more than than the record 22.4 per cent (69 MPs) in the House of Commons.

“I’ve learned some lessons in my time in politics, and I learned women don’t come to the political arena easily,” MacDonald said. “Generally speaking, women have a lot of uncertainty about whether or not they have the kind of skills that will not only give them success, but staying power. It is seen as a blood sport and you have to get the elbows up and there are many women who don’t want to participate in that way.”

She also said women can be timid in campaigning, which she found several times helping other female NDP candidates get elected.

“(Women) never think they know enough to be a candidate,” she said. “They think they have to have the answer for everything, where the male candidates are much more confident and are more prepared to wing it. Some people would say (they) B.S. their way through. That’s very interesting.”

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