3Political StructureUK – Constitutional Monarchy in which Monarch is head of state & Prime Minister is head of governmentExecutive power is exercised by Her Majesty’s Government as well as by the devolved Governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern IrelandLegislative power is vested in the two chambers of the Parliament of the UK, the House of Commons and the House of Lords, as well as in the Scottish parliament and Welsh and Northern Ireland AssembliesThe judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The highest national court is the Supreme Court of the United KingdomThe House of Commons is the lower house of the UK Parliament which, like the House of Lords (the upper house), meets in the Palace of WestminsterThe House of Commons is a democratically elected body consisting of 650 members known as Members of Parliament (MPs). Members are elected to represent constituencies by first-past-the-post and hold their seats until Parliament is dissolved.
4Con Lab LD Other Total MALE House of Commons House of Lords National Assembly of Wales Scottish Parliament Northern Ireland Assembly London Assembly European Parliament FEMALE House of Commons House of Lords National Assembly of Wales Scottish Parliament Northern Ireland Assembly London Assembly European Parliament (UK Members) % FEMALE House of Commons 16% 32% 12% 21% 22% House of Lords 18% 29% 29% 17% 22% National Assembly of Wales 29% 50% 20% 36% 42% Scottish Parliament 40% 46% 20% 29% 35% Northern Ireland Assembly 19% 19% London Assembly 11% 42% 50% 50% 32% European Parliament (UK Members) 24% 38% 55% 30% 33%
5UK General Election May 2010 CountryTotal Number of SeatsNumber of Women MPs%Women MPsEngland53311922%Scotland5913Wales40717.5%Northern Ireland18422.2%TOTAL650143
6Regional Variations Region Total Number of Seats Number of Women MPs East of England58915.5%East Midlands461123.9%Greater London732432.9North East England291034.5North West England751621.3South East England841416.7South West England5520West Midlands591322Yorkshire & Humber5418.5ScotlandWales40717.5%Northern Ireland18422.2%TOTAL65014222%
7Women in the House of Commons Election year Number of % womenwomen MPs MPs
8WOMEN MINISTERSCurrently 4 out of 22 (18%) Cabinet posts are held by women.Of 121 Government Ministers, including the Cabinet, whips, Lords in waiting and 13 unpaid positions 23 (19%) are women.Prior to 2010 election 30% of ministers were women
10Wales NATIONAL ASSEMBLY FOR WALES 2011 ELECTION No. of women (60 total seats)(2007 total in brackets)No of women in constituency seats (40 total seats)No of women in regional seats (20 total seats)Labour15 (16)132Plaid Cymru4 (7)13Conservative4 (1)Liberal Democrat2 (3)Independent / Other0 (1)TOTAL25 (28)178Women as total % of National Assembly for Wales1999 Elections40%2003 Elections50%2007 Elections46.7%2011 Elections41.7%
11Scotland SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT 2011 ELECTION No. of women (129 total seats)(2007 total in brackets)No of women in constituency seats(73 total seats)No of women in regional seats(56 total seats)Labour18 (23)711Scottish National Party19 (12)145Conservative6 (5)6Liberal Democrat1 (2)1Green Party1 (0)Independent / Other1 (1)TOTAL46 (43)2125Women as total % of Scottish Parliament1999 Elections37.2%2003 Elections39.5%2007 Elections33.3%2011 Elections35.6%
16EUROPE UK European election results by gender and party, 2009 Total MEP’s ElectedWomenMen% WomenBNP2Conservative2561924Conservative & Unionist1DUP100GreenLabour135838Liberal Democrat1155Plaid CymruSinn FeinSNPUKIP15OtherTOTAL724735%(Total 200478205826%)
17MEP’s by Region Region Number of Seats Number of Women East Midlands 5 2Eastern71London84North East3North WestSouth East10South West6West MidlandsYorkshire & the HumberScotlandWalesNorthern IrelandTOTAL7224
19 Addressing Underrepresentation EQUALITY LEGISLATIONSex discrimination Act 2002 – allowed political parties to use positive action in the selection of election candidates. Now amalgamated toEquality Act 2010 – extends the provision to exempt political parties from sex discrimination law until 2030UKLabour – only party to use provision & policy of all women shortlists to address gender imbalance in partyConservatives – do not use all-women shortlists but the marked increase in women MP’s is evidence of Con Central Parliamentary Selection Board to place more women on lists
20Addressing Underrepresentation A QUOTA SOLUTION?2 main types –Party – adopted voluntarily by party to aim for a certain proportion of female candidates (25-50%). Govern composition of party lists (PR electoral systems) or selection of candidates (plurality systems))Legislative – mandatory provisions applying to all partiesEffectiveness:Last 30 years has seen a significant increase in women in politics in states here PR exists, but only modest through Plurality/majority systemsThe British first-past-the-post system and the French two-round system are known to work against women.
21Addressing Underrepresentation SHORTLISTS All women shortlists are a good example of the way selection rules can affect female representation. Cons & Lab had more women candidates than at previous elections & %age of female MP’s in each party increased
22ConclusionsRange of cultural and economic factors affect the level of women’s representation internationally - level of secularism, length of time women have had vote to rates of women in paid employment and levels of state of childcareYet political factors such as party ideology, electoral systems (FPTP) and candidate selection rules are clearly crucialInternationally, PR electoral systems, where selection rules require that women are selected have resulted in rise in women’s representationExtension of the Sex Discrimination Act 2002 to enable the use of al women shortlists until 2030 should make a difference in relation to gender, if all parties use it
23However!UK is placed 52nd on table of women’s representation in Parliaments worldwide UK also remains behind most European Parliaments which tend to have PR election systems At the current rate of change & under current system it will take a further 200 yrs to achieve parity in the number of women and men n parliament
24B What have we done to promote women n politics? Education and training programmesEuropean Projects -Study VisitsMeetings and debates with elected representativesCollective lobbying and campaigningEnsure representation on working groups and consultative bodies