This is kind of an extension to Faith’s article about party representation.
Since 1918, women have been allowed to stand for Parliament, while not being very long ago, this hard earned victory should have represented a massive change in our country. One would hope it would allow the government to more closely resemble the people – one of the signs of a healthy democracy. Unfortunately this is not the case, while women and men are approximately equal in number (until we get older) only 291 female mps have been elected compared to 4365 male ones since 1918. In the last parliament men outnumbered women approximately 5 to 1. It’s often suggested that having a first past the post system makes us more likely to have straight white christian men in parliament, but even so – why are people not making a bigger deal about this?
Here’s my opinion (roast me in the comments): when women are political they are either perceived as being opinionated, or manly, or in some way not “normal” in order to excuse this “unusual” behaviour, such as lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or “radically feminist.” Apart from the fact that most of these things, if not viewed as inherently bad (“she doesn’t even shave her legs!”), appear to be used to defeminise women, it is a problem that needs tackling. If women feel they have to be the next Thatcher, or Widdecombe, to be a politician, it’s no wonder we have so few running.
If my sister turned to me and said “I want to be prime minister!” I would seriously wonder if it were possible, unless she grew (figurative) balls, to be accepted. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with mps with traits not stereotyped to be feminine, I’m just saying we have set a mold for female mps, and it’s time we got over it.
Take away fact – if we had two men for every women in parliament, there would still be twice as many as before.