The Dim-Post

November 4, 2013

Gender quotas and the electorate

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 11:24 am

Labour voted to introduce a gender quota for their MPs (alongside a bunch of other initiatives). Queue general outrage amongst pundits and political commentators and tongue-clucking about ‘the fringe’ dominating the party. Won’t this lead to lower quality MPs? Would it mean Labour super-stars like List MP Rajan Prasad couldn’t make it back into Parliament?

So taking a gander at my new buddy the New Zealand Election Study, here’s what a large sample of voters think of gender representation in Parliament:

nzesgender

So just under 30% of voters uncategorically want more female MPs. That’s a lot more people than, say, support partial privatization of the power companies.

And – just out of curiosity – I broke down the party vote of the people who want fewer MPs (bearing in mind that the sample size at this level is pretty small, so might be wildly inaccurate):

fewerfemales

I suspect it correlates closely with age . . .

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61 Comments »

  1. Up until the gender quotas was brought up again I had assumed Labour had understood the need for having candidates that are there on merit. Now they’ve lost my vote. And since there’s no party that isnt pandering to one or another lobbying movement I think I’lltake Russell Brand’s advice an no longer vote.

    Comment by whybothervoting — November 4, 2013 @ 11:40 am

  2. Up until the gender quotas was brought up again I had assumed Labour had understood the need for having candidates that are there on merit.

    They have! Now they won’t have a bunch of male MPs who are there simply because of their gender.

    Comment by danylmc — November 4, 2013 @ 11:42 am

  3. When you look at the small percentage of people who said “Fewer”, I suspect that your individual party groups actually fall within the margin of error of the survey. Let’s be realistic with the analysis, and admit that you are analysing a very small group of people who are not representative of anyone in particular.

    Comment by David in Christchurch — November 4, 2013 @ 11:53 am

  4. A good point which I meant to make, but forgot to because I was distracted. Thanks!

    Comment by danylmc — November 4, 2013 @ 11:57 am

  5. Please correct me if I’m misinformed, but this new quota doesn’t have the power to override the wishes of a LEC, right?

    So… the party may want more women – and will probably list rank accordingly – but all you’ll get from electorates is more Mallard and Goff.

    Comment by Auto_Immune — November 4, 2013 @ 11:58 am

  6. I for one look forward to all the exciting new female Labour MPs who have been kept down by the patriarchy that has dominated the Labour party for so long.

    Comment by Exclamation Mark — November 4, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

  7. Up until the gender quotas was brought up again I had assumed Labour had understood the need for having candidates that are there on merit.

    This would hardly be the first time a group of political candidates has been selected on something other than merit. The biggest distinguishing thing here is that Labour’s being more open about it.

    If the group of cadidates which Labour shows up with turns out to be actually better than the alternatives, regardless of who Labour kept out through its bureaucracy, would you seriously not vote for them?

    Comment by izogi — November 4, 2013 @ 12:07 pm

  8. I do enjoy the way the nation’s media helpfully turn this into two alternatives:

    1. Candidates who have merit;

    Or:

    2. Candidates who are women.

    The question being, which of those two alternatives would Labour rather have? Thanks, 3News, you’ve really cleared that up for me.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — November 4, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

  9. Am I misunderstanding something, or did you hate this policy back in July when the media was running the whole ‘man ban’ meme?

    Comment by Hugh — November 4, 2013 @ 12:44 pm

  10. Labour wants 45% of its caucus to be women when now it’s 41%. Yes, I can see what a huge problem this is.

    Comment by Ross — November 4, 2013 @ 12:47 pm

  11. If Hekia Parata decided to change sides, would Labour welcome her with open arms?

    Comment by Ross — November 4, 2013 @ 12:49 pm

  12. So just under 30% of voters uncategorically want more female MPs.

    Yes, but that is NOT the same as saying they want a gender quota to be the means by which it happens.

    Comment by Phil — November 4, 2013 @ 12:52 pm

  13. “So just under 30% of voters uncategorically want more female MPs. That’s a lot more people than, say, support partial privatization of the power companies.”

    Thing is, wanting more woman in parliament does not equate to a quota policy. What you have to ask is whether they would support quotas to achieve this objective. Heck think there should be more woman in parliament. I also think higher incomes is a good thing. Doesn’t mean I support discriminatory policies, or policies that restrict others freedoms unconditionally.

    Comment by Swan — November 4, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

  14. Would it mean Labour super-stars like List MP Rajan Prasad couldn’t make it back into Parliament?

    I recently had the opportunity to deal with Dr Prasad (in a non-parliamentary capacity) and found him to be very intelligent and articulate on the subjects we were dealing in. He seems like a genuinely nice guy who works hard to achieve the goals of organisations he’s part of. I don’t really get why he hasn’t been more successful as a parliamentarian.

    Comment by Phil — November 4, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

  15. My take:
    - the existing rules set a bar for competence as an overall criterion
    - the moderating committee has to aim for this outcome, given what it thinks about likely election results. But there’s no penalty for failure to achieve, so seen in that light, this is more an aspirational statement than a straitjacket for the committee
    - in a caucus that might be as big as say 45 if there’s a bumper result in 2014, how hard can it be to get just 21 good women across the electorate seats and the top list spots?
    - in these arguments we use terms like “best” and “merit” in a fuzzy way. Eg, aren’t members of our ethnic communities best to, and don’t they most merit, to represent those communities? What skills and attributes make an MP good or meritorious? Is a Parliament that doesn’t reflect the makeup of the country the best Parliament? Is talent really concentrated in the demographic that currently predominates? I’d like to hear people who want merit as the sole basis to clarify their thinking here.

    Comment by Stephen J — November 4, 2013 @ 1:08 pm

  16. “Is a Parliament that doesn’t reflect the makeup of the country the best Parliament?”

    Given educational qualifications and employment history are such major determinants of peoples lives, I would have thought these categories would be important in getting representation more reflective of the nation (if that is desirable). At the moment in think the house is very unreprestative based on these categories.

    Comment by Swan — November 4, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

  17. “If Hekia Parata decided to change sides, would Labour welcome her with open arms?”

    Of course and if she would drop her husband even more so

    Comment by Raymond A Francis — November 4, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

  18. In fact if she would be prepared to have a limb whacked off or be blinded she would be a full house

    Comment by Raymond A Francis — November 4, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

  19. I am sure more knowledgeable denizens of this parish can come up with a list of white male mp’s who could well have been replaced by a more able female colleague from the same electorate.

    Comment by northshoreguynz — November 4, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

  20. @Phil: Parliament is a weird place. While intelligence, work ethic, charisma and all that aren’t exactly maladaptive, they are very far from guarantees of success, even when combined. Conversely, a lot of people who seem like they’d find it hard to succeed in the world outside Parliament can flourish inside Parliament’s funny hothouse environment. (I won’t say who I’m talking about, but I assure you it’s an MP from the political party that you, the reader, oppose)

    Comment by Hugh — November 4, 2013 @ 1:35 pm

  21. Always found the messaging on this odd. Isn’t the simple message “we believe both genders have equal merit potential as MPs, so a system that routinely sees one gender underrepresented has underlying issues in its selection policies. We’re making sure our selection process improves to get rid of that”
    The “minimum 50% female” policy isn’t quite on that message but a “neither gender underrepresented by more than a 10% split” would be…

    Comment by garethw — November 4, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

  22. Ah yes, NSHNZ, I am sure we can all think of more able females . BUT would they want to run, and it elected would they want to serve and be subjected to the bullshit that is the daily parliamentary process? I can think of a few recent examples (not necessarily the _best_ people, but examples nonetheless) of people who quit after one term because they couldn’t stand the process and the games and the bullshit. That is, I think, a crucial factor that many are neglecting in all of this. It seems that a lot more men than women are willing to put up with, if not actively contribute to the bullshit.

    Comment by David in Christchurch — November 4, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

  23. sigh. typos, typos. “_if_ elected…”

    Comment by David in Christchurch — November 4, 2013 @ 1:42 pm

  24. Indeed, gw, I think your suggestion would find much more support generally than the “there will be at least 45 % of …”. And what happens when there are more women than men? Will there be agitation for a male quota? It all seems quite arbitrary and contrived.

    Comment by David in Christchurch — November 4, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

  25. Oh and before the regulars get their knickers in a knot, I have voted for men, I have voted for women. I have no idea if a person I have voted for was gay or not. I don’t care one way or another. I look at the list of candidates and vote for the person I think is best. Gender, sexual orientation, etc., doesn’t come into it.

    Comment by David in Christchurch — November 4, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

  26. Garethw: that pretty much is our message. But Paddy Gower and Claire Trevett and the political commentariat get a lot more mileage from putting it their way, and we can’t stop them. Especially when you have to put numbers in a constitutional rule and members draft the rule. The thing about the party’s deliberative process is that it *is* democratic and for better or worse it is not designed to win PR victories.

    Comment by Stephen J — November 4, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

  27. >> 21.Always found the messaging on this odd

    I wonder how different the response would have been if Labour had packaged this as ‘gender balancing’ with no gender having more than 55% and no less than 45% of the caucus, rather than a ‘female quota’.

    Comment by Ataahua — November 4, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

  28. ” It seems that a lot more men than women are willing to put up with, if not actively contribute to the bullshit.”

    As people like Julie Fairey have testified, women get more of that bullshit than men do. It’s called structural sexism. In any event, is the alleged greater tolerance of men for bullshit a reason to accept the present situation, when there are obvious and simple mechanisms to create space for capable women?

    Comment by Stephen J — November 4, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

  29. Ataahua: an amendment was put to the conference that said pretty much that, and it lost narrowly.

    Comment by Stephen J — November 4, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

  30. The thing about the party’s deliberative process is that it *is* democratic and for better or worse it is not designed to win PR victories.

    For better. Regardless of one’s views on this particular remit, if all such potentially controversial issues were excluded, then the conferences would be election rallies only. That works for a campaign launch, but it can’t work for a full 3 years.

    Especially if “potentially controversial” is defined as “anything the media or opponents might possibly have a shot at”. And the more controlled the conference, the more that controversy is sought. If it wasn’t a gender “quota”, it would be Trevor Mallard sitting down too soon in the standing ovation.

    Labour have struck a pretty good balance, I reckon. Neither fawning nor fighting.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — November 4, 2013 @ 2:19 pm

  31. @Stephen: Pity! But thanks for the additional info.

    Comment by Ataahua — November 4, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

  32. Stephen, thanks for the info. That motion may have helped the framing, but if the media want to call it a cockblock I suppose they still will… Whole thing just seems blindingly obvious to me

    Comment by garethw — November 4, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

  33. I’m curious how this will work. If a whole lot of female electorate candidates miss out but the men get elected, does the list ranking split into two, one for males and one for females?.

    The voters would have little idea which list MPs are likely to be elected. Under those circumstances, perhaps the party vote should just go to other parties if there are people on lists voters don’t want.

    Comment by Bruce Hamilton — November 4, 2013 @ 3:49 pm

  34. “does the list ranking split into two, one for males and one for females?”

    As far as I know, electoral law would not allow running a list like that. You have to pick list order in advance of an election and stick with it until the following election. The public will have as good an idea who they get via the Labour list as they do with any other party. And it is still the case, as it is and has been with every party, that your party vote can go to another party if there are lots of people on the list you don’t want.

    In practice, the moderating committee will look at polling data, look at who is standing in each electorate, judge their likely electoral success/failure, stick a finger in the air, and jigger the top ranking on the list accordingly. I imagine they’ll get it broadly right but not perfect, and post election we might have 47 or 43% women. We’ll see. The situation is very far from the so-called quota that is being reported.

    Bear in mind that right now, if Poto Williams gets elected, the caucus will already be 41% women. People seem to think there will be massive change under the new rules, but there won’t.

    Comment by Stephen J — November 4, 2013 @ 4:02 pm

  35. As a voter, I care not whether I am voting for a female, male, or anyone in between – nor what process they went through to get where they are. In the electorate vote, I am voting based on the individual merits of the candidate. If Labour’s policy results in better/worse/same quality of candidates, my vote will go according to my assessment of that quality. In party voting I am looking at their policy platform for running the country (not how they elect their own candidates).

    Perhaps I am just a bit simple…?

    I do believe, however, that for every idiot that puts their name forward for candidacy, there are probably a dozen or more others more capable who haven’t put their name forward for various reasons. If this policy encourages a few more higher quality candidates to come forward (albeit only the female ones), and the result is a higher calibre candidate, then I am all for it. Be gone with you Mallard et al…

    Comment by Sam — November 4, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

  36. As far as I know, electoral law would not allow running a list like that. You have to pick list order in advance of an election and stick with it until the following election.

    You are correct.

    What Labour will do is make predictions about which electorates they think they’ll win and the sex of the (likely) victorious candidates from these. Then, they’ll structure the list so that (if their guesses about the electorates are correct, and based on their assumptions about the share of the party vote they’ll win), the final complement of MPs is gender balanced. So – a lot of suppositions which could turn out to be inaccurate (the party could win a bunch more/less electorates than they planned for, or the share of the party vote could be a lot higher/lower), which means that the final balance may be different to what they hoped for.

    What is important, but, is that Labour is thinking about (and, even more importantly, doing something about) the fact that since 2005, the share of women getting elected to Parliament has essentially stalled. Sorry to reach for the bold on that, but it seems like something that all those who say “I’d like to see more women in Parliament, but not if it actually requires changes” might like to remember.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 4, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

  37. Men -over represented by approximately 35%.

    Lawyers -over represented by 4000%

    Comment by Swan — November 4, 2013 @ 4:57 pm

  38. Not sure of your point, Swan.

    If it is, “as long as there’s any form of over-representation of any group in Parliament, we shouldn’t bother doing anything about anything”, then I reject it as a counsel of defeat.

    If it is, “over-representation of lawyers is a problem that is more pressing and deserving of immediate action than is the ongoing and persistent under-representation of women”, then I invite you to defend the proposition (whilst also noting that in order to say that Labour’s move is “a bad thing”, you also need to show why it is either not possible or not desirable to also address gender imbalance at the same time as lawyer-imbalance is dealt with).

    If it is just having a poke at lawyers, then fair enough. I don’t like them either (except for my wife, of course).

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 4, 2013 @ 5:22 pm

  39. since 2005, the share of women getting elected to Parliament has essentially stalled. Sorry to reach for the bold on that, but it seems like something that all those who say “I’d like to see more women in Parliament, but not if it actually requires changes” might like to remember.

    And Labour’s answer to this problem is… a quota.

    It stinks of a complete lack of problem solving imagination. How about Labour investigate a mentoring program for aspiring female MP’s? It could be similar to the good work that’s going on at (shock! horror!) the institute of directors and the institute of chartered accountants.

    Alternatively, they could have offered to start a bipartisan working group to get a better understanding of what it is that attracted current and former young female MP’s to a parliamentary career (like Arden, Kaye, Mathers, Adams etc) in the first place.

    But, no. They’ve chosen the easy and meaningless route of parking an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.

    Comment by Phil — November 4, 2013 @ 5:48 pm

  40. > But, no. They’ve chosen the easy and meaningless route of parking an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.

    I agree to some extent. Of course, we don’t know how many women Labour has asked to stand for Parliament. I recall that lawyer Judith Ablett-Kerr was apparently approached many years ago but declined. That begs the question: do women want to become MPs? If not, why not?

    Comment by Ross — November 4, 2013 @ 6:31 pm

  41. But, no. They’ve chosen the easy and meaningless route of parking an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.

    I think this misrepresents Labour’s past history on this issue. It’s not like they suddenly woke up a few months ago and said “hey! let’s get equal men and women in Parliament!” There’s been fairly intensive efforts to recruit and mentor women candidates for a while – which is why they’re up to 40% female MPs in their caucus. So, it’s a bit different to the Institute of Directors and Chartered Accountants example, where the challenge is to try and get female participation out of the single figures.

    But, for all these efforts, Labour has still stalled short of gender equality. So now it as an organisation is saying “we’re going to tie our hands and make ourselves do this – which then sends a message to women about how seriously we take this issue.” I don’t see that as being an “easy and meaningless route of parking an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff” – whatever that metaphor is meant to mean. It also must come as something of a shock to the Greens, for whom this has been shrug-inducing normality for years, that their zipped list is a gross abdication responsibility and principle.

    Oh … as for “a bipartisan working group to get a better understanding of what it is that attracted current and former young female MP’s to a parliamentary career” as a proposed solution to the problem – you are taking the piss, right?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 4, 2013 @ 6:33 pm

  42. Hmmm I got that wrong! JAK was approached by National…

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10122111

    Comment by Ross — November 4, 2013 @ 6:35 pm

  43. > since 2005, the share of women getting elected to Parliament has essentially stalled.

    Having more female Labour MPs isn’t going to have much effect. Indeed, it could have no effect if the number of female MPs from other parties falls.

    Comment by Ross — November 4, 2013 @ 6:38 pm

  44. Having more female Labour MPs isn’t going to have much effect. Indeed, it could have no effect if the number of female MPs from other parties falls.

    So … because other parties may not do anything, Labour shouldn’t do anything … meaning that Labour’s commitment to gender equality and response to that commitment should be defined entirely by the possible future behaviour of others.

    Or, because the problem is everyone’s, it is no-one’s.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 4, 2013 @ 6:52 pm

  45. Andrew,

    The point I am making is: what is the actual problem here? Surely it isn’t the bare fact that females are somewhat underrepresented in the Labour caucus? If the problem is that the caucus should reflect NZs make up, then I believe there are far far grosser imbalances to tackle than gender. Take for example the number of MPs whose only career is as a staffer. And I think the “sorting the gender imbalance is better than nothing” misrepresents the situation. The focus on gender/sexuality/race implies that this is where the problem lies and this is what is meant by representation.

    If the issue is that women are being discriminated against, then I think the quota misses the point. Surely if your organization is discriminating against women, shouldn’t the focus be on finding out and eradicating the cause of the discrimination? A quota is analogous to aiming for the trees to correct for your slice (let’s pretend a slice is morally objectionable in and of itself).

    If the problem is the woman don’t see becoming an elected representative as a viable option, I don’t think the quota is going to slice anything. If the numbers of females in politics were very small and/or not visible, I could agree with this. But it isn’t hard to find examples of female politicians, in fact it is probably easier than an awful lot of occupations (eg non public facing professions like engineering). I just don’t see how going from 40 to 50% is going to make a scrap of difference to the prospective women wondering whether they have a place in politics. I mean we got to 40% from 0 after all.

    Comment by Swan — November 4, 2013 @ 8:20 pm

  46. ^^ “… I don’t think the quota system is going to *do* anything.”

    Comment by Swan — November 4, 2013 @ 8:29 pm

  47. @Swan,

    I actually agree with you on your point that a big problem with all parties is that representation has been “professionalised”, in the sense that it’s seen as a career option in-and-of itself. But I don’t know what to do about it. Nor is it the argument being had right now … and while I take your point that addressing gender/sexuality/ethnicity issues may work to distract from that problem, I’m not fully convinced that a current inability to deal with one very hard problem means having to put to one side a slightly less hard problem.

    As for the rest … I think that the argument for gender equality in representation is so self-evident that I won’t bother rehashing it. There’s then a basic split in responses to the fact that it does not exist within Labour. One solution is the one you propose – eradicate all the internal barriers to female participation, hope that whatever wider societal factors act as disincentives to women entering politics eventually ebb over time, so that the natural law of averages kicks in and gender equality results. I guess my response to this is that it’s something that’s been said to women since the 1930s, when the first woman MP managed to scale Parliament’s walls. So arguments like “hey – we’ve got to 40% … just wait a bit longer and we’ll eventually get to 50%” sound an awful lot like “just be quiet and let things go on as they were, because us boys have got more important things to worry about”. Which isn’t, I hasten to add, something I’m accusing you of saying … but it may well be what is heard.

    So that’s why I have absolutely no problem with Labour following the Greens and saying “we’re going to make our stated commitments a reality, and ensure that when we say we ‘represent’ NZers, our caucus has to at least look like the split of sexes in society generally”. And unless someone can show me why this will be absolutely disasterous in terms of the quality of the representatives chosen, I don’t actually see why anyone would have a particular problem with it.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 4, 2013 @ 9:22 pm

  48. ^^ “… if the quota system is not going to *do* anything, why care?”

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 4, 2013 @ 9:24 pm

  49. “Would it mean Labour super-stars like List MP Rajan Prasad couldn’t make it back into Parliament?”

    I’m not really sure what it is you have against Dr Prasad (whose first name is spelt RAJEN). I remember previous posts in which you were quite disapproving of him. From my perspective, he is a hard-working MP who has a genuine regard for his electorate. He strikes me as one of the relatively few parliamentarians who is more concerned with public service than personal advancement.

    Comment by mutyala — November 4, 2013 @ 9:36 pm

  50. Fair enough Andrew. My main objection to it is the message it sends. But I am now sitting here very self conscious of my straight white middle class maleness so I will leave it at that.

    Comment by Swan — November 4, 2013 @ 9:39 pm

  51. But I am now sitting here very self conscious of my straight white middle class maleness … .

    As am I, Swan … as am I. Maybe even too self conscious? Because once you check your privilege, where do you stop?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 4, 2013 @ 9:51 pm

  52. @mutyala: I think it was DPF who started the “LOL PRASAD IS USELESS” meme, and I guess Danyl’s trying to show his bipartisan cred by replicating it.

    Comment by Hugh — November 4, 2013 @ 10:19 pm

  53. Swan, what if the cause of discrimination is, basically, subconscious bias? Suppose you knew that you screwed up consistently when aiming a dart, always veering left. It would make sense to make a conscious effort to shift your aim right, even if it felt a bit weird as you were doing. Something similar is happening with the Labour Party: we’re clearly not selecting women when they are equally as good as men. The party organisation is (in this analogy) subconsciously sexist, and needs to impose a consciously corrective measure to compensate.

    (That’s assuming that merit is a clear objective quality etc etc, which is kind of nonsense, but.)

    Comment by Keir Leslie — November 4, 2013 @ 11:28 pm

  54. “So … because other parties may not do anything, Labour shouldn’t do anything … meaning that Labour’s commitment to gender equality and response to that commitment should be defined entirely by the possible future behaviour of others.”

    I’m simply saying the policy might have little effect.

    I asked the question earlier: do women want to become MPs? If the answer is largely no, then gender equality is a rather facile objective. Various female MPs have come and gone bemoaning parliamentary life, suggesting that (for a woman) Parliament isn’t the place to be! If women generally don’t want to become MPs, is it any wonder?

    Comment by Ross — November 5, 2013 @ 6:33 am

  55. Hmmm, so we’ll overlook the covertly sexist sniping about ‘uncaring’ Paula Bennett’s that features in these here parts and get with the programme of dealing with each person on their merits, regardless of their gender, shall we? And Hell, look at the legions of defenders of women in politics lining up to support Bevan Cheung during her recent tribulations. … The drive to visibly place women in ‘positions of power’ is kind of ironic, (or perhaps payback) given that Cunliffe is in part in his position of ‘leader’ of Labour with the endorsement of the CTU’s Helen Kelly … a woman, mind, who did not get into her position by dint of a ‘quota’ or am I mistaken?…

    Perhaps the issue is not so much whether woman have been barred from becoming representatives or from working on behalf of Labour, but whether they have wanted to, and if not, why not? if Labour want more women to participate why not engage in policies that support female career aspirations, and present a consistent value-system that doesn’t throw women (as women, not because of their innate merit, I mean) to the wolves for the sake of political expedience?

    For example increase child-care assistance for working mothers, make creches available as a given in work environments increase maternity leave and make it for men too, incentivise young women to stay in school (yes, pay them) and try to popularise subjects that women have traditionally steered away from. And yes, if certain kinds of impropriety occur in the workplace, (one for the union reps, I’ll hazard) don’t look the other way/blame the female for it, or tacitly support and endorse that mentality.

    I am aware that Labour have enacted and do support many of the above ideas, but what suggesting is that a sea-change about women in society is required. If it going to be properly led, it should be signalled by policy-formation and drawing up air-tight legislation rather than PR-stunting. This would promote the idea of Parliamentarians as representatives of ‘the people’ doing some – you-know – ‘politics’ rather than continuing to act like navel-gazing professional politbuerites tinkering with airy-fairy notions.

    This may make a life of politics more attractive to female candidates for the right reasons, rather than instituting a ‘quota’ by fiat – which sends out a patronising signal ‘We’ll overlook that you are female, and may not be good at what you do, but we’ll find a spot for you anyway’.

    Bless.

    Comment by Lee C — November 5, 2013 @ 6:36 am

  56. After quitting politics, former MP Heather Roy once said:

    “In politics they say it’s not being stabbed from the back you have to worry about, it’s being stabbed from the front. It was pretty torrid and tough. But it is politics.”

    That sort of comment is hardly going to have women rushing to become an MP.

    Comment by Ross — November 5, 2013 @ 6:47 am

  57. “That sort of comment is hardly going to have women rushing to become an MP.”

    That sort of comment should affect men and women… unless you think women are a lesser vessel and are too weak to cope?

    Comment by Tasi — November 5, 2013 @ 9:36 am

  58. I actually agree with you on your point that a big problem with all parties is that representation has been “professionalised”

    Good point AG – does make me wonder whether, if term limits were established, there might some unintended gender rebalancing as a result?

    Comment by Gregor W — November 5, 2013 @ 9:57 am

  59. Andrew Geddis for PM! Followed by Keir Leslie; or vice versa. But after I’ve served my term, of course….

    Comment by Merrial — November 7, 2013 @ 1:52 pm

  60. Andrew Geddis for PM!

    That would … not be wise,

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 7, 2013 @ 1:57 pm

  61. “That would … not be wise,”

    Oh, I dunno….. in my lifetime, there’s been many a candidate of whom that could be said with a great deal more justification, but it hasn’t stopped them from putting themselves forward for election.

    Comment by Merrial — November 7, 2013 @ 10:15 pm


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