Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Women in politics

Yesterday I drafted a press comment on behalf of the Executive in response to the publicity given to the paltry presence of women in government.

...‘That women feel  under-represented in and by government is no surprise.  The results of the  survey confirm what we already know through our conversations on the doorstep and in the streets and through observing the male-led policy-making of  the old grey political parties.   If more women had a real say in  choosing and running our  government, would we be buying a  new Trident missile system,  continuing to sell arms,  making a habit of  going to war,  bailing out and rewarding the (mostly male)  banking sector ... whilst cutting services and  benefits to  vulnerable people and those with disabilities? 

 As a woman in politics, it's frustrating to find one is often expected to fit in to the political stereotype of arguing about detail whilst the big issues (e.g. climate change, corporate exploitation of people and planet, democracy) are rarely mentioned.  To go to the root of the problem, to point out the elephant in the room (or that the emperor has no clothes) as many women tend to do, is often treated as naive -  ‘real’ politicians don’t mention that, do they?    
Politics needs women – not just in the UK,  but worldwide.  It is an outrage that at least half of the world’s population is marginalised.   On top of that, in the UK, the first-past-the-post electoral system means that  most people justifiably feel that their vote doesn’t count and/or that they can’t vote for a party they believe in  - so it’s really not surprising when the turnout at elections is so low.‘

We have a lively Green Party Women group in the Party  and we are working hard to ensure women are empowered to come forward as candidates as we see equality as fundamental to progress towards a sustainable world.  The Green Party has just elected its new Equality and Diversity Committee to ensure we  continuously improve. 

According to a report from the Centre for Women & Democracy  :
...at the 2010 General Election there were more candidates standing than ever before (4,134). There were also more women candidates than ever before (877), constituting a greater percentage of candidates than previously (21% as against 20% in 2005, 18% in 1997 and 8% in 1979).
The report noted that the Green Party had the highest percentage of women candidates (33% - a slightly inaccurate figure) followed by Labour (30%), the Conservative Party (24%) and the Liberal Democrats (21%).'

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