Women's Section

Women in Politics

The results for women in Politics at the last election were historic, 191 women MP's (29%) an increase of 48. But women are still woefully under-represented in UK Politics. They make up more than half of the population but less than a third of MP's

The 2015 election results put the UK in 36th place, lagging behind many European, African and Latin American counties. Rwanda has 64 per cent women in its Chamber of Deputies.

The issue is one of demand rather than supply, women aren't the problem, parties are. Evidence shows there is an entrenched gender bias in UK politics with a bias in selection towards male candidates.  Party demand shapes supply but there are generally sufficient numbers of women candidates to be selected for winnable seats if parties chose to select them. When parties apply gender quotas, they usually manage to find that they had women who'd been willing to stand all along.

Without active intervention, gains in women's representation will continue to be slow and incremental. The UK has been overtaken on women's representation by countries using ‘fast track’ equality measures – usually in the form of gender quotas.  Stronger equality measures are needed.

Quotas are not a ‘cure-all’ for women's under-representation; they need to be well designed, implemented and enforced in order to make a difference. They also don't in themselves remove all obstacles to women's political participation; they need to be placed in a wider strategy aimed at reforming recruitment and selection practices, targeting sexist attitudes, and changing institutional cultures. But, the continuing exclusion of women from British politics demands action – the time has come to consider legislative quotas for women in order to deliver real change.

 

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published this page 2016-11-19 16:31:07 +0000

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