Will the boundary review hinder gender equality efforts?

An inquiry into increasing women's parliamentary representation in 2020 has been launched

 

The Women and Equalities Committee has launched an inquiry into the constituency boundary review, to ensure that it does not curtail efforts to achieve greater gender balance of the House of Commons.

Scheduled for 2018, the review will cut the number of MPs from 650 to 600 by redrawing a range of constituency boundaries. The committee is concerned that, without a concerted effort by the parties, the process could cause women to fall even further behind in terms of parliamentary representation.

‘If the number of seats in the House is reduced we need to ensure it is not at the expense of a representative, modern Parliament,’ commented committee chair and Conservative MP Maria Miller.

“Nearly 100 years on since the first female MP took their seat in the House of Commons we have seen just 451 female MPs elected. There are more men in the House of Commons now than the total number of women MPs ever elected. We need to see proper diversity in public life – an important part of this is making sure the House of Commons is representative of the nation at large.”

As well as questioning what measures parties need to take to mitigate potentially negative impacts of the boundary commission, the inquiry will assess whether steps are being taken to increase women’s representation in other areas of public life, for example among mayors and Police and Crime Commissioners.

It will also examine the recommendations of Sarah Childs’s The Good Parliament report, published earlier this year.

Childs, a professor at the University of Bristol who was seconded to the House of Commons, laid out a series of recommendations for a more inclusive and representative parliament.

Her recommendations included reorganisation of the parliamentary calendar, better monitoring of gendered language and unprofessional behaviour in parliament, permission of breastfeeding in committees and the chamber, and the provision of creche facilities on the parliamentary estate.

While some of the suggestions have already been criticised, the Women and Equalities Committee will explore how broad consensus can be reached on its proposals.

The deadline for written submissions to the inquiry is 12 September.

5 Responses to “Will the boundary review hinder gender equality efforts?”

  1. Richard MacKinnon

    I can understand why the author of this piece prefers to remain anonymous.
    What about,
    No boundary changes permitted where the sitting MP is a woman?
    Redraw constituency boundaries to include places where lots of woman meet?
    Move woman into constituencies where there is a male MP? Possibly not; all that travelling home everyday to cook her man’s dinner.
    What about this, two votes for woman one vote for men?

  2. Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin

    Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin

    Hi Richard, I wrote this piece. Not at all concerned with remaining anonymous.

  3. Richard MacKinnon

    Good for you Niamh,
    What about an explanation of what gender equality has to do with redrawing constituency boundaries.

  4. Robert Petulengro

    Niamh, “We need to see proper diversity in public life – an important part of this is making sure the House of Commons is representative of the nation at large.”
    Why?
    If I had a woman MP (and I do not at the moment) I would not be represented as a man. If I were living in, say, Peterborough, I might not be represented by a Christian (I am a Catholic). If I were living… – but you get the point.
    Are you honestly saying that only women can represent women?
    And furthermore I have been very shocked recently by a light bulb moment when my daughter gave birth. She is impeccably left wing. She is in love with her baby. He comes before everything and everyone else. Even her (not)husband. My wife is besotted too. I am, frankly, not. The in-laws are exactly the same: him not – her yes. They, too, are both impeccably left wing. Harriet Harman admitted that she was going to put her family before her leadership of the Labour Party. The recently dismissed judge, Judge Lowell Goddard, spent a lot of time with her family too.
    I do not think that women and men are identical, although I do think that we are all equal. Your remark, “There are more men in the House of Commons now than the total number of women MPs ever elected. ” Does rather tend to support this.
    PS Aren’t you rather proud of being a woman? And haven’t you ever thought about this like I have recently?

  5. Richard MacKinnon

    Niamh,
    Tic tock.

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