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 starter activity In 1997 a record number of women MPs were elected to the HoC. They were nicknamed ‘Blair’s Babes’ by the Press. This still amounts to.

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Presentation on theme: " starter activity In 1997 a record number of women MPs were elected to the HoC. They were nicknamed ‘Blair’s Babes’ by the Press. This still amounts to."— Presentation transcript:

1  starter activity In 1997 a record number of women MPs were elected to the HoC. They were nicknamed ‘Blair’s Babes’ by the Press. This still amounts to barely 20% of the total number of seats. Do you think more should be done to encourage women candidates?

2 How representative are MPs? To define what we mean by ‘representative’ To analyse how ‘representative’ our parliament is To examine how socially representative our MPs really are  Aims

3  Your task Read Watts, p.196 and list any evidence to suggest MPs are not as representative as might first seem Read Watts, p.196 and list any evidence to suggest MPs are not as representative as might first seem

4 How representative are our MPs? Current govt. enjoys support of less than ½ voters Current govt. enjoys support of less than ½ voters Questions over legitimacy Questions over legitimacy Minority views underrepresented Minority views underrepresented 2/3 MPs lack majority support in their constituencies (2005) 2/3 MPs lack majority support in their constituencies (2005)

5  Your task Read Watts, p.196 and note the 3 main ways in which MPs can be ‘representatives’ Read Watts, p.196 and note the 3 main ways in which MPs can be ‘representatives’

6 The closely represent the views of the people who elected them - their constituents The closely represent the views of the people who elected them - their constituents They represent the views of constituents as they understand them They represent the views of constituents as they understand them They are socially representative They are socially representative Which of these 3 interpretations matches the way your local MP represents his constituents? Are you happy about this?

7  Your task Study the information in Watts on p.197 and find out how fairly represented women are in the following countries or assemblies: Study the information in Watts on p.197 and find out how fairly represented women are in the following countries or assemblies: Welsh Assembly Welsh Assembly Sweden Sweden European Parliament European Parliament House of Commons House of Commons France & Italy France & Italy European Parliament in Brussels

8 Representation of women Welsh Assembly Welsh Assembly 50:50 (2003) 50:50 (2003) Sweden Sweden 1 in 3 or more 1 in 3 or more European Parliament European Parliament Nearly 33% Nearly 33% House of Commons House of Commons 20% 20% France & Italy France & Italy 10% 10% Are MPs like Ann Widdicombe (Cons) a good advert for women MPs?

9  Your task Your teacher will give you a picture of your local MP. Around the picture note down evidence from Watts, p.198 note down evidence about the social background of MPs. Include the following: Your teacher will give you a picture of your local MP. Around the picture note down evidence from Watts, p.198 note down evidence about the social background of MPs. Include the following: Ethnic backgrounds Ethnic backgrounds Professions Professions Education Education Age Age Gender Gender

10 Ethnic backgrounds 15 MPs from ethnic background in 2005 GE 15 MPs from ethnic background in 2005 GE 2001 all 12 MPs in Lab Party 2001 all 12 MPs in Lab Party 2 MPs in Cons Party 2 MPs in Cons Party Oona King lost her seat to George Galloway in 2001 GE. Do you think it is important for parties to select more candidates from ethnic minorities?

11 Professions 2001 GE over 100 MPs from educational backgrounds Other professions over- represented, e.g political staffers, lawyers, media & city Anthony King, ‘professional politicians’

12 Education 2001 GE, 449 MPs attended university 2001 GE, 449 MPs attended university 31% attended public school (50%+ in Cons Party) 31% attended public school (50%+ in Cons Party) Can you spot Mr Higgins?

13 Age Middle-aged Middle-aged Oldest serving MP (2008) is 82 (Ian Paisley) Oldest serving MP (2008) is 82 (Ian Paisley) Average age 50.6 Average age MPs under 30 (Jo Swinton, Lib-Dem, 28 in 2005) 3 MPs under 30 (Jo Swinton, Lib-Dem, 28 in 2005) Average age of Cons. is younger than Lab (48 opposed to 53) Average age of Cons. is younger than Lab (48 opposed to 53)

14 Gender 1997, 120 women MPs, nick-named ‘Blair’s Babes’ 1997, 120 women MPs, nick-named ‘Blair’s Babes’ 2005, 128 MPs 2005, 128 MPs Majority female MPs Lab (98 in Lab, 17 in Cons) Majority female MPs Lab (98 in Lab, 17 in Cons) Other assemblies better represented, e.g. Welsh Assembly 50:50 Other assemblies better represented, e.g. Welsh Assembly 50:50

15  Your task Read Watts, p.199 and list the reasons why women are under-represented in Parliament Read Watts, p.199 and list the reasons why women are under-represented in Parliament

16 Under-representation of women Child-bearing & home-making responsibilities Child-bearing & home-making responsibilities Electoral system (candidate selection) Electoral system (candidate selection) Nature of parliamentary life Nature of parliamentary life Fawcett society identifies four ‘Cs’: culture, childcare, cash, confidence Fawcett society identifies four ‘Cs’: culture, childcare, cash, confidence Sex Discrimination Act (1975) amended to allow all-women shortlists Sex Discrimination Act (1975) amended to allow all-women shortlists

17 Plenary Plenary Does it matter that MPs are not socially representative? Hold a boxing debate on the issue. Use the evidence in Watts, p Does it matter that MPs are not socially representative? Hold a boxing debate on the issue. Use the evidence in Watts, p


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