North by North Westminster – Navigating the Road to Parliament

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The 50:50 parliament campaign is beautifully simple…all of the best things are, as Leonardo da Vinci said ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’.

However, I’m writing this blog to supplement the campaign and to provide sustenance to anyone reading this thinking…”yea, so how do I actually become a politician?” Because we can’t (AND SHOULDN’T) rely on policy and cultural change to achieve anything.

Admittedly, I don’t know the answer to this great mystery but I’m documenting my journey in finding out, so follow me, guide me, ask questions, point out any gaps.  I want to create a one stop pool of information that I can’t seem to find anywhere else!

Before I begin, I want to share some of my 50:50 thoughts.  If you’ve come across this blog, I’m sure you’ve come across the website and campaign in more detail and what we are up to so I’ll keep it briefish.

There’s the obvious fact that we  women make up half of the population and this should be reflected at such a critical decision making level but I’m sure I don’t need to press this point too much!

Additionally, for me, the other ‘no brainer’ reason for a balanced Parliament is that it is widely accepted that a more diverse leadership in any form equates to better decision making. Here’s an extract from a recent report ‘Women on Boards’.  Ok, ok, this is from a commercial perspective but the principles are more than translatable. Plus, we have no basis for comparison at Government level in this country, as we have never had anything other than a male dominated Government!

“Inclusive and diverse boards are more likely to be effective boards, better able to understand their customers and stakeholders and to benefit from fresh perspectives, new ideas, vigorous challenge and broad experience.  This in turn leads to better decision making.  This business case is backed by a growing body of evidence.  Research has shown that strong stock market growth among European companies is most likely to occur where there is a higher proportion of women in senior management teams*.  Companies with more women on their boards were found to outperform their rivals with a 42% higher return in sales, 66% higher return on invested capital and and 53% higher return on equity.*” 

If you’re keen to read into this a bit more, here’s the report in full; https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/31480/11-745-women-on-boards.pdf

The third reason that equal female representation is imperative in Parliament is that at present, all economic decisions and spending cuts are disproportionately affecting women.  I’m actually a part of the West London Fawcett Society and we are in the thick of our first campaign, having set up the West London branch last August, which examines exactly this in the West London area across 8 boroughs, conducting equality impact assessments to quantify this.

So…we’ve come full circle!  Yes, the aim is simple, yes there is a plethora of evidence as to why the aim is so important but there is a piece of the puzzle missing.  HOW are we going to fill that gap?

Therefore, as my contribution to the 50:50 campaign, I’m writing this blog to document the how, what and why of becoming a politician from a 28 year old female perspective.

I hope you enjoy!

Comments 6

  1. This is a great cause and im intrigued as to where your journey takes you. The comparison to women on boards i feel is a pretty pertinent one! Could you meet some women who having taken the leap from business to government and share their story?

  2. I am standing for Labour in Bristol City Council local elections. Locally as well as nationally women are under-represented. Selection panels are mainly male and many women fall at this first hurdle through no fault of theirs, just that the Panel Chair or one of their mates has a ‘favoured’ candidate already lined up -it may even be the wife or partner of one of them. At least Labour has introduced gender balance rules under ‘Refounding Labour’ .

  3. Make political history by taking the 5050 aims, combined with the principles outlined in consensusuk.org and stand in the 2015 General Election as an MP. The electorate are looking for a makeover of the alleged Mother of all Parliaments. Lets go for it…..

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