Quotas to guarantee gender balance in Parliament

Quotas are the only effective mechanism for making real progress towards gender-balanced legislatures. Experience from democracies globally shows that countries using quota systems are generally closer to 50:50 than those without them. In countries (like the UK) with voluntary quota systems, parties using them are more representative of the electorate than those which do not. But the need for them is disappointing; they reflect the failure of mainstream political cultures to accommodate the majority of the population on a level playing field. Straighten the pitch, achieve true meritocracy, and the case for quotas will evaporate. Until then, they’re a regrettable necessity.

Nan Sloane, Director, Centre for Women & Democracy

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  • Neil Stretton
    tagged this with hate 2016-05-03 17:57:22 +0100
  • Roger Cherry
    commented 2016-04-03 15:36:05 +0100
    Better to tackle the causes of bias towards male MPs, likewise the bias towards privately educated, Russell Group educated MPs.
  • Roger Cherry
    tagged this with neutral 2016-04-03 15:36:05 +0100
  • Andy Leighton
    commented 2016-04-01 16:21:00 +0100
    And when you have, say, 60 capable women and 40 capable men, which of the women are you going to dump for makeweights? It works the other way too, obviously enough. The gene pool for bright capable politicians is shallow enough, without disbarring talent for the contents of their undies.
  • Andy Leighton
    tagged this with dislike 2016-04-01 16:21:00 +0100
  • Verity Lewes
    commented 2016-04-01 10:22:37 +0100
    In my view political parties must address these issues of culture to reflect the society that claim to represent. I would be dissatisfied with any external regulations acting as the overseer of what is good and appropriate. There can surely be no role for overseers (externally driven quotas) but more influence and pressure from within parties to make the necessary cultural changes. If they fail to do that then the electoral must be the arbitrator of their failures to reflect society, even where the process is slow, and only partially effective.
  • Verity Lewes
    tagged this with neutral 2016-04-01 10:22:36 +0100
  • Lewis Baston
    commented 2016-03-23 11:23:20 +0000
    Only thing that works. And Ireland has recently managed to implement quotas without a list electoral system, so it’s possible.
  • Lewis Baston
    tagged this with like 2016-03-23 11:23:20 +0000