Tag Archives: gender inequality

It’s International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world. The theme this year is #PressforProgress. One startling fact: the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report shows that gender parity is 217 years away!

And on to harassment in its many forms – our own Wera Hobhouse MP is calling on the government to make upskirting a criminal offence as reported by Caron on Tuesday. Wera says,

The fact that this is not a sexual offence in England baffles me, as much as it horrifies me. In Scotland upskirting was made an offence back in 2009. There is simply no excuse for ignoring this issue any longer.

Relying on outraging public decency is absurd. It should not matter how public it was or who else saw it. The law should focus on the individual victims and the crime committed against them. It is their body that is being taken advantage of without their consent.

But true equality is about resolving power inequality. Professor Mary Beard’s latest book, Women and Power, discusses the structures inherent in society which need to change. In discussions with a friend this week we realised that until we get most histories written by women, most laws written by women, society governed by women in the majority at every level, we will never achieve gender equality. The world is not only run predominantly by men but is also contextualised in books, histories, films, etc., by men. The whole world is skewed by a man’s perspective on everything. Living is framed by men.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Voting reform is vital for a more diverse Parliament

When Sal Brinton and I did the Hungry for Democracy fast last week, we did it to raise awareness of why we need a different voting system for Westminster so that we can get the Parliament we ask for.

Also in our minds was the fact that proportional voting systems give much more potential for a more diverse Parliament. An article on the Electoral Reform Society’s blog this week shows how our First Past the Post system is a barrier to gender equality. Basically, the safest seats are mostly held by men.

When each constituency has just one seat, only one MP can be elected to represent that area. This in itself quells diversity and competition.

Secondly, the majority of seats rarely change hands between different parties. So once an MP is elected to represent a ‘safe seat’ there is little chance of them losing a subsequent election.

Combined with the fact that incumbent MPs are very rarely deselected, it means ‘safe seat’ MPs have unrivalled job security. And, as the new research shows, the longer an MP has held their seat, the more likely they are to be men.

This represents a constant drag on women’s representation – unless there are real structural changes.

proportional voting system with multi-member seats would end seat blocking by adding much-needed competition: constituencies would be represented by multiple MPs, meaning no one could secure a monopoly on local representation

Sal talks about how, at current rates of progress, her baby granddaughters, two this Summer, will be in their ninth decade before gender equality is achieved.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 19 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJoeB 17th Mar - 2:14am
    Peter Martin, with all due respect, I would imagine that those Russians that experienced the financial crisis of 1998 losing all their domestic savings would...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 17th Mar - 12:08am
    David, yes, but she might have favoured an alliance, Corbyn does not !
  • User AvatarPaul Pettinger 16th Mar - 11:37pm
    @Andy, there are lots of people in other parties with a broadly similar outlook to ours. Some are in the Conservatives but, overall, there is...
  • User AvatarJennie 16th Mar - 10:11pm
    The memorial service for Joe Otten's selfie stick will be held in Sheffield soon
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 16th Mar - 10:02pm
    @ Lorenzo Cherin Liz Kendall ? An ally for Liberals ? For goodness sake, Lorenzo. Liz Kendall has always been massively in favour of the...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 16th Mar - 9:14pm
    @ MichaelBG, "This makes 2.43 million." Right. But we can't assume they all voted leave.