We challenge all other parties to follow our lead with practical policies to make Parliament equal
Published 10 January 2016
Today WE welcome a report from the Women and Equalities Committee highlighting the dearth of action from all other parties to improve women’s representation in Parliament. Leader Sophie Walker challenged other political parties to follow us in publishing proactive plans to deliver a gender-equal Parliament and seize this opportunity to break down barriers to participation in politics.
The Women’s and Equalities Select Committee inquiry recommended that a target of 45% for women representatives at local and national level should be set and enforced by the Government. WE launched in spring 2015 with a core goal of 50:50 representation in Parliament via the introduction of quotas.
“We welcome the Committee’s recommendation to introduce legislative quotas,” said Walker. “The Women’s Equality Party has a plan to put Parliament into “special measures” for two elections and insist that all parties field 66 per cent of their candidates as women. It’s a simple and effective plan that will see parity achieved within two elections and ten years.”
“We have waited long enough for the other parties to do this work. The Conservatives have consistently refused to recognise the proven impact of all-female shortlists, and the Labour Party will be fielding only male candidates in mayoral races across the UK this spring. It is time to push through change for the benefit of the whole electorate.
“Currently, women take up less than a third of seats in the House of Commons and the government’s Boundary Review proposals are looking to shrink this number further,” she added.
Walker welcomed the Committee’s recommendations as an opportunity for all parties to address gender equal representation in Westminster, and called for parties to go further by addressing barriers to BME and disabled candidates’ participation in elections at every level.
“This report highlights the work still to be done to achieve gender parity at Westminster, and it’s vital that this includes other forms of diversity by tackling the underrepresentation of BME and disabled people in our democracy. We submitted our own evidence to the Women’s and Equalities Committee inquiry, and are pleased that it has set out a clear template to help the other political parties achieve equal representation."