Female MPs: how’s the party doing?

We’ve twice covered the question of gender balance in (Westminster) politics in recent days with the challenge from the Fawcett Society What about women? and Dinti Batstone’s call to Make politics fit women’s lives, not vice-versa.

With party conference in Birmingham about to start, we now have the latest figures on how the party is doing at getting a less male-dominated Parliamentary party. The Campaign for Gender Balance reports:

  • Winnable seats: approximately 40% of our most winnable seats have women PPCs.
  • Held seats: 4 out of the 8 seats that have MPs standing down have selected women.

The last point is particularly important as, although the party has been moving towards a good record of gender balance in newly won seats (either at general elections or by-elections), the overall balance of the Parliamentary Party has been held back by a history of heavy male dominance and a long sequence of retiring men being succeeded by male candidates.

On these figures, the 2010 election won’t revolutionise the make-up of the party but it will continue the serious progress made over the last 12 years.

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