Frances Scott Founder & Director 50:50 Parliament 10 Dec 2019
50:50 Parliament want to build a better democracy, one that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent and experience, including that of the 32 million women who live and work in the UK.
So what impact has 50:50 had on the 2019 General Election? Have the parties responded to our call to action? Have our programmes to support women had any effect?
The Parties Response
A total of 1122 women have been selected to stand in the 2019 General Election. This is more than ever before, up by 168 on 2017. In that election only 12 extra women gained seats at Westminster. At this rate it will take over 50 years to achieve gender equality of representation.
The Labour Party have fully embraced our call for action. Jeremy Corbyn made it clear at a Women and Equalities Select Committee in 2016 that the Labour Party would take steps to achieve “50% of women’s representation in the next parliament” and they are leading the way. Labour have 335 women standing in this election, accounting for 53% of their candidates. This is 110 more Labour women than in 2017 and 141 more women than selected by the Conservatives this time round.
The Conservatives have a total of 194 women standing in this election, up by only 13 on 2017, accounting for 30% of their candidates.
There are 187 women standing for the Liberal Democrats, also accounting for 30% of their candidates, see 50:50’s detailed analysis here.
However, it does feel like our message is being heard. As part of this election campaign Boris Johnson has announced the “biggest drive” to recruit female Tory activists, members and candidates and pledged to make 50% of future Tory candidates women, recognising that “talent and brilliance is equally distributed, but opportunity is not”.
50:50 can take some credit for this. There is now recognition that, given women account for over half the population, in a truly representative democracy it is reasonable to expect that women have equal seats and an equal say in running the country and planning the future.
50:50’s Inspirational #AskHerToStand & #SignUpToStand Have Made a Difference!
In this election over 50 women standing have been inspired by 50:50 (see a list at the bottom).
This is the result of relentless campaigning and our inspirational #AskHerToStand day on 21 November 2018 when over 300 women from across the UK visited Westminster.
Since then over 900 women have gone on to #SignUpToStand via our website.
It is fantastic to receive some wonderful feedback from a range of candidates:
Since it started in 2013 50:50 has been run by a dedicated team of volunteers but we now have funding from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust to put in place our “New Girls Network” of 50:50 buddies to provide much greater support for women and help them get selected and elected.
Ultimately the number of women being returned to Westminster this time will depend upon the result of the General Election and whether women are standing in winnable seats. But 50:50 Parliament will keep campaigning to inspire women and work with all the political parties to ensure that we build the best possible democracy that includes talented and experienced women.
Today is Human Rights Day which marks the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In the preamble it says:
“The peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights…and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress.” Women’s rights are human rights and Parliament should be leading the way in showing respect for women, their experience and opinions.
Women that 50:50 Has Inspired to Stand in this General Election
|Angela Joy Richardson|
|Clare Victoria Aspinall|
|Joanne Lindsey Ainscough|
|Kanwal Toor Gill|
|Katrina Louise Sale|
|Kay Frances Tart|
|Linda Jane Johnson|
|Linden Mary Kemkaran|
|Tamkeen Akhterrasul Shaikh|
JOIN 50:50 at www.5050Parliament.co.uk. It costs nothing to join our campaign for change.
About 50:50 Parliament 50:50 Parliament is a cross party campaign taking action to get more women elected to Westminster. With their #AskHerToStand and #SignUpToStand initiatives 50:50 aims to inspire, encourage and support political engagement. Join 50:50 at www.5050parliament.co.uk; 50:50 Parliament on Facebook; 50:50 Parliament on Twitter; 50:50 Parliament YouTube; sign http://www.change.org/5050parliament.
#5050Parliament #AskHerToStand #SignUpToStand