There are still too few women at the top in Westminster and Whitehall [Guardian]

Despite the latest reshuffle, the Cabinet will remain largely white and male – and so will the top post in the civil service

“Women parliamentarians still have a lot to do. We need more encouragement for women to come forward. It’s very difficult, because of all the mudslinging and insults.”

Harriet Harman? Louise Mensch? No, those words are from Laadi Ayii Ayamba, MP for Pusiga in Ghana. Women MPs in the UK may despair at the level of insult being hurled at the new intake of female cabinet members (sample: “these ladies will now know they weren’t picked for their abilities just keep quotas looking reasonable”), but it’s something their counterparts in other parts of their world are all too familiar.

At the summer summit of the Women in Parliaments forum, a body set up to promote the appointment of more female parliamentarians around the world, women spoke of the challenges in getting more women elected. Isata Kabia, an MP from Sierra Leone, spoke of how scary it was for her to becoming a politician. “When I declared for my constituency I didn’t sleep for two months,” she said.

Kabia, originally a biochemist who worked for 12 years in the US, voiced the views of many when she said that encouraging more senior female leaders had to come from the top. “Women must sit at the tables where decisions are made,” noted another delegate.

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