The reshuffle is bad news for women’s representation
Author: Zoe Stavri
Published on Sep 06, 2012
Tuesday’s ministerial reshuffle has drawn a lot of criticism for various reasons. One of the major issues is the shift in the make-up of the cabinet. Of the 26 senior positions, only four are occupied by women following the reshuffle. All cabinet ministers at present are white, although it is understood that Baroness Warsi will continue to attend cabinet in her new role.
When half of the population are women, and 15% is not white, this cabinet doesn’t look very representative. This is connected with a broader problem of representation within Parliament, where 143 of the 650 MPs are women, and only 27 MPs are not white. As this issue permeates through all layers of the parliamentary system, progress on increasing representation at higher levels is likely to be slow and frustrating.
Speaking on behalf of Counting Women In, the Electoral Reform Society’s Kate Ghose draws attention to the fact that before the election, Cameron pledged to have women occupy a third of cabinet jobs by 2015. To avoid breaking this promise, there is going to have to be a very major reshuffle in the next few years. With the stark underrepresentation of women as MPs, this may have been an unwise promise to make in the first place.
Women are not being heard. It’s time for that to change. Why not join forces with Counting Women In to make things better?