Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Women in Parliament

You can watch a video of the exchange here.
It wasn't so long ago that the Prime Minister caused an outcry by telling a female MP, "calm down dear" in the style of a notoriously sexist film director Michael Winner (who used the phrase in an insurance ad).
Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Angela Eagle, at whom the comment was aimed, said "a modern man" would not have "expressed himself that way".
But a Downing Street spokesman said it was just "a humorous remark" (BBC)
I noticed today two interesting articles in the Guardian, looking at the experience of female MPs and comparing the percentage of female MPs here and elsewhere.

Here's a sample quote from a Labour MP, Rushanara Ali (Bethnal Green and Bow constituency):
For young women, particularly, when they see a woman from their area in parliament (I grew up in my constituency and I went to local schools), that makes a big difference, because they can identify with you. It makes the idea that this is a career they could go into much more realistic and possible. And to me that’s really important – if they want a career in politics, then why not? “Why not” is what I say when people say they can’t, or it’s too difficult. Women being visible in national political life, working on issues that not only affect women but society at large, is a really important message. Parliament still doesn’t look like society in terms of gender and ethnicity – that needs to change. (Guardian)
Here's a graphic overview of how women fare as elected politicians across the EU (the article has further graphs illustrating the % of women in the UK and Scottish governments, plus further analysis):

See more graphs and analysis here.

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