The Counting Women In coalition has recently published Sex and Power 2014: Who Runs Britain?. The report examines the presence, or lack thereof, of women in powerful positions in politics and other spheres of public life in the UK today, and then goes on to consider the implications of a country largely governed by men, and makes a series of recommendations for tackling the dearth of women in influential positions.
Key findings include:
- Britain is falling down the global league tables when it comes to women’s representation in politics we have continued to be overtaken by other countries: we have slipped dramatically from 33rd place in 2001, and 62nd place in 2010, to 65th in 2014.
- Women currently comprise only:
- 22% of Cabinet Ministers
- 23% of Members of Parliament
- 23% of Members of the House of Lords
- Women are also seriously under-represented in local government, particularly in leadership roles.
The 2015 General Election presents the next big opportunity for all parties to make progress. Fielding women in target and retirement seats is the most reliable way of achieving this. To date, the Labour Party are leading the way with women comprising 53.5% of those fielded in target and retirement seats. The Liberal Democrat Party comes next with 40.5% and the Conservative Party is lagging behind on only 34.5%.
Key recommendations include:
- All political parties should take (or continue to take) immediate action to increase the number of women candidates at all levels of election, and to draw those candidates from as wide a variety of backgrounds and communities as possible.
- An equalities monitoring form similar to that used in recruitment for public appointments should be introduced by the relevant election authority so that we can get a much better understanding of who is (and isn’t) standing for election in our democracy.
- The media should ensure that their coverage of political issues includes women and their views, treats all contributors with the dignity and respect to which they are entitled, and accords with the Code of Conduct published by the National Union of Journalists.
The ful report is available to download, here