Women are under represented in all positions of power across the UK. The reasons are varied and numerous and I have written about many of them in this blog. Last week a new report came out looking at who actually runs Britain. The results were somewhat predictable and dispiriting but hopefully they will help all of us passionate about gender equality demand change:
- 22.5 percent of MPs are women, 21.7 percent of peers and 17.4 percent of the Cabinet;
- The level of women MPs has increased by only 3.9 percent since the year 2000, whilst the percentage of women in the Cabinet has decreased by 4.3 percent;
- 12.3% of council leaders are women
- Although all the political parties have improved to some degree, none will achieve 50:50 male/female representation in the near future. Currently 16 percent of Conservative MPs are women, 32 percent of Labour MPs and 12 percent of Liberal Democrats
The report made 6 recommendations which I have reproduced below which I endorse and am happy to offer my services to help achieve:
Political parties should take immediate action to increase the number of women candidates at all levels of election with a view to fielding as many women candidates from as wide a variety of backgrounds and communities as possible in winnable seats in 2015. This should include active consideration of positive action measures in selection processes.
In order to enable everyone concerned to develop a much better understanding of the issues, a monitoring form similar to that used in recruitment for public appointments and applications for funding should be introduced. It would be completed and submitted to returning officers by all candidates together with nomination forms at all levels of election, and the results collated and published annually. This requirement should be implemented at the 2014 English local and European elections.
Government should pilot a new government-wide scheme in 2014 to increase women’s presence, profile and participation in the 2015 general election and beyond. This could be done by drawing together experience from the UK and abroad which could be used to improve both the participation and the candidacy of women of all backgrounds in Britain.
Government, political parties and others should act to implement the recommendations of the Speaker’s Conference Report published in 2010.
In addition to adopting the proposals for cultural change in public life contained in reports such as the Speaker’s Conference, the Councillors’ Commission, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Pathways to Politics, steps should be taken to develop a much wider set of proposals for improving the culture of both politics at all levels and the media coverage of them.
All organisations – public, private and third sector – should take steps to ensure that, at meetings and events, both women and men appear on platforms as speakers, and editors and broadcasters should also take responsibility for commissioning contributions from both women and men as commentators and experts. Individual citizens should be encouraged to object to men-only platforms, panels and programmes. (My italics)
Sex and Power was researched and written by the Centre for Women & Democracy on behalf of the Counting Women In coalition (CfWD, the Electoral Reform Society, the Fawcett Society, the Hansard Society and Unlock Democracy)
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Posted on March 1st, 2013 by Jane