Women in UK Politics – – where the hell are they?

Emmeline Pankhurst
and Emily Davison (who died under the King’s horse at Epsom 1913220px-Emmeline_Pankhurst2220px-Emily_Davison_portraitmp

It will come to no surprise to British people to be told that women’s representation in Politics is massively unrepresented. Why is that? Is it because they are no good, not clever enough, aren’t intelligent enough, are too lazy, or can’t be bothered? Or is it because we live in a male dominated society, and men think really that women’s’ place in is the home, having babies?

But it is not just politics of course is it! Women are underrepresented in many other walks of life – the senior ones anyway like Bankers, Judges, Chief Executive Officers, City Traders, Directors, Film Producers, National Newspaper Editors, Diplomats, Architects, Senior Civil Servants, Racing Drivers, Farmers, Publishers, Pilots, et al (the prestige higher paid jobs), or even basic Lorry drivers, but they are overrepresented in other walks of life, such as cleaners, childminders, typists, bar staff, people councillors, part-time staff, nurses, factory assembler workers, home builders, supermarket checkout staff, kitchen workers, air cabin crew, sex workers, restaurant workers, shop assistants, carers, etc – all at the lowest paid end of the employment ladder!

Not only that, but in Britain (even in the so called top type jobs), and despite the law, women get paid less than men for doing exactly the same job – good for the employers, but not so good for employment rights is it?

Traditionally women have found it very hard, if not nigh-on impossible, to get selected by their chosen Party for a ‘safe’ or even ‘winnable’ parliamentary seats – despite often with women amongst the activists choosing the candidate, they mostly go for a male (particularly one who is a supposedly ‘family man’ who is attractive to female voters, and will be good at kissing babies – often they turn out to be philanders and closet gays).

In Britain, with a population of over sixty three million, the proportion of women is slightly greater than half, yet in the House of Commons (despite all Parties claiming they wanted more women) there are only about fifty females (a mere 7%), with a third Labour and only 20% of them Tory. In the House of Lords, the Upper House, the situation is less dire with 172 ladies (22%) – a preponderance of Hereditary Peers (92) are males because of historic rules of inheritance (so there is only 1 women!); the Church of England Bishops have to be all male (currently!); from the others. the ‘appointed’ members (Life Peers) you get the females!.

The Labour Party took the bull by the horns when in 1993 they took affirmative action and introduced the concept of, ‘women only’ shortlists (WOS) for some constituencies (half the winnable seats). This certainly worked, despite the widespread opposition (mainly from men but also some women who said it should be the best man for the job!), and a new gaggle of women (nicknamed Blair’s Babes!) got into Parliament in 1997, sitting on the Labour benches. That gender initiative was soon knocked on the head though (deemed as discrimination against men – wow!), and despite it then becoming lawful in 2002, women now once again take their slim chance of selection (in ALL Parties).

A novel idea has been suggested of having 2 MPs for every constituency, one male and one female – women would vote for a female and men for a male. Many are going to argue against this as a form of segregation, but it is a sound way of getting proper equality in parliament (don’t worry men, the PM will still make sure you still get all the top plum jobs! Tory PM David Cameron has appointed only 4 female ministers to his Cabinet of 27 – less than 15%). As a consequence of having two MPs, there would have to be larger constituencies to halve the number, because the last thing we need is more MPs in an already over-crowded House, or double the number of MPs ruthlessly fiddling expenses and milking the system! People will say that two people is a strange way of doing things – but they would be WRONG! In the 1700s & 1800s it was common for many constituencies to have two or more representatives (males of course in those days – from 1832 women didn’t even get the vote, or right to stand for Office, until 1918 when the very militant suffragettes like Emmeline Pankhurst and Emily Davison, gave their liberty (and some their lives) to fight for the right to vote – to vote initially women had to be 30 and UK University graduates or have property!). Multi-member constituencies (as many as 13 MPs sometimes!) were invoked since the earliest days of parliamentary representation – this went on until as late as 1950, when ALL constituencies became single member only.

Women won’t really have a civilizing effect on Parliament (but might stop a few of our wars and PMQs might not be so childish!), or make any difference though to the way MPs milk their expenses – easy really as they are ultimately in control of the rules (the jungle experienced and of ‘undisclosed income’ fame and false travelling expenses claim, Nadine Dorries MP for mid-Bedfordshire, channels at least eighty thousand pounds of your money to her family (legally apparently!) – well, at least it’s not moat cleaning or dovecote building, so not as bad perhaps!

 

[If you think that separate female and male MPs is a good idea, then tell you MP of your views – particularly if they are male and you are a female!]

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