Excuse Me, Why Does This Portrait Look So Different from the Orginal?

The BBC is reporting that Speaker of the House of Commons is to hold a conference on getting more women in to Parliament. I found this article a few days ago when I was looking for something else, it points out that Iraq has more female MP's than Britain. Currently, one in five MPs is female, this is a shocking statistic and clearly something needs to be done about it.

However, as this move comes a few weeks after the governments equality bill, I endeavoured to find out whether the government has truly earnt its sexism bashing stripes. In short, it hasn't; neither, I might add, have any of the other parties. Whilst all of the three main parties go around valiantly campaigning for equality and an end to discrimination, not one of them has a cabinet which is made up of more than a quarter of women.

Lets start with Labour and the Official Cabinet of State; out of 23 cabinet members, only 6 are female. The Conservatives Cabinet of the Official Opposition contains a total of 28 cabinet members, again only 5 are female. The prize for the cabinet with the least number of women (in total and proportionally), however, goes to the Liberal Democrats. Out of the 27 members of the Lib Dems Shadow Cabinet, 4 are female. Pathetic! That not one of the three main parties has managed to give over a quarter of the seats in their cabinets to women is not just disgusting, but laughable.

I know that many are not fans of positive discrimination, but all three parties need to agree to reserve half of the seats in their cabinets for women. It can be done. In Spain at least 9 of the 18 members of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero's cabinet are female (I say at least because I don't know whether a couple of the Spanish names are male of female and they don't have Wikipedia articles).

Addressing the lack of women in Parliament is of course a very good thing, however, what is really needed is a sea change in all areas of British politics. We cannot go on with politics being so under representative of society.

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