No democracy without gender equality

The increased female representation in Westminster after this year’s elections has been a great step forward, but the fight for gender equality is far from over. Women, who represent over half the British population, still only make up less than a third of both houses in our parliament. There is a lot more that could, and should, be done to stop men having such an undemocratically-louder voice.

Constantly referring to Margaret Thatcher’s time in power, the Conservative Party likes to argue that it “has consistently been at the forefront” of “the struggle for gender equality and the development of women’s involvement in politics”. Until 1987 however, women were never “more than 5% of MPs”. David Cameron, meanwhile “could hardly have done more to keep [women] away”, according to at The Guardian. In today’s parliament, for example, only 21% of Conservative MPs are women (rounding up), and the current Tory cabinet has twice as many men as women.

Despite the media propaganda launched at Jeremy Corbyn, he made a bold statement after becoming leader of the Labour Party by placing 16 women and 15 men in his shadow cabinet (reflecting more accurately than ever before the actual gender balance in the country). However, gender equality in parliament has not just been a problem on the right. Ed Miliband, for example, was previously criticised for recruiting an all-male election team, and only 43% of the party’s MPs elected this year were women. Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrat wipeout, saw all seven of its female MPs thrown out of parliament, leaving just eight men to represent the party.

Fortunately, it seems like Corbyn is planning to take a leading role in ensuring an equal role for women in politics becomes a reality. Legal quotas, for instance, could be one way to increase gender equality, and is something that could be implemented by progressive parties. Such steps have already been taken in Turkey, where the HDP ensures there are male and female “co-chairs for all representative levels”. In Rojava, this system is even enshrined in the constitution, with communal councils insisting that “at least 40 percent” of those participating in policy discussions “must be women”.

Overall, while we may take consolation in the fact that the USA and Russia have less institutional equality than the UK, the fact remains that in Europe, the Scandinavian countries lead the way once again, along with the Netherlands and Belgium. At the same time, Rwanda, Bolivia, Cuba, and the Seychelles – countries that Britain’s establishment politicians would seldom credit as role models – have the highest numbers of female parliamentarians globally.

Quite frankly, it is embarrassing that in a country so fond of boasting about its position as one of the oldest democracies in the world, men still overwhelmingly determine the destinies of women whilst claiming to be their equals. Therefore, in the name of true democracy, we need to change this situation once and for all.

Featured image via Wikimedia

Read on...

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed